Italian Family Loyalty and Mamma’s Boys

Italian Family Loyalty and Mamma’s Boys

In the book Elements of Italy, the author notes that family in Italy means much more than grown up children taking trays of cakes specially wrapped to the parental home for Sunday lunch or major holidays. The family relationship in Italy Immigrant is unique. The family represents the network of the most important relationships of Italian society. The relationship of loyalty is so strong that it can be rightly called the basic building block of Italian society.  The most stable of that relationship remains the one between mother and son. From the moment a blue ribbon is tied on the front door to indicate a male birth, a son is the pampered center of attention. It isn’t that the son is spoiled  by the mother, which they are. One writer, Dacia Maraini says "Men exchange one mother for another when they marry." Even after marrying they often stay near the family home or even live with the family. The television program, 60 Minutes, did a broadcast about the relationship between adult sons and their mothers, which showed adult men packing their laundry and sending it home to their mother to wash and iron. However, the cultural reason for close knit family relationships in Italian society was primarily due to the fact that the family needed to stick together to survive. They could not rely upon Italian government to protect or assist them. Poor people needed each other. An immigrant going to America sought out family support even if it was a distant relative and help was freely given. Family helping family meant  a chance for assistance when needed and for advancement. The family ties extended beyond parents and grandparents to aunts, uncles and cousins. This closeness was shown in the huge family gatherings. But, above all loyalty to one’s family was an Italian’s supreme obligation.

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