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US Virgin Islands Social Customs & Etiquettes
 
 
 

The US Virgin Islanders are overwhelmingly friendly and helpful and the pace of life is very relaxed. Politeness is considered important. Children are told to address adults as "sir" or "ma'am". Visitors are encouraged to smile, use greetings and maintain a courteous attitude.

Locals follow a system of greeting which depends on the time of day. "Good morning", "good afternoon", "good evening" and "good night" are the norm. Most people follow-up a salutation with "How are you?". When entering a room with others it is customary to greet people. You may also be greeted with "Ya arright?", to which an appropriate response would be "arright!" or "ok". Islanders also use a modified handshake. A normal shake, then a finger clasp, followed by a fist bump.

One in three families is headed by a single female parent. The rate of unmarried teenage pregnancy is increasing and is a major social concern. Wedding customs range from the traditional African "jump the broom" to European-influenced church ceremonies.

The concept of jointly owned "family land" accommodates the pattern of alternately settling down and moving that has characterised the lives of many families since colonial times.

Women are responsible for infant care. Breast-feeding is supplemented by formula given in bottles; the use of formula results in early weaning. In more traditional households, folk beliefs about infant care, including the use of "bush tea" to induce sleep, are common. A "bogeyman" is used as a threat to correct children's bad behaviour.

 

 
 

 



 


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