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Culture 4

Historically, the family has been among the most central cornerstones in Syriac society. By the family, people meant the extended family. In a typical house in Turabdin, the grandparents, their children and grandchildren would live together. The house would have a yard, surrounded by different sections for different parts of the family, including a stable for the animals, often to be found under the main living part of the house.

A family would also be referred to as bayto ‘house’. The term be, short for bayto, has been used in conjunction with the family name, to refer to a specific family. For instance, me be Malkethe Malke family’. When asking which family someone is related to, one says: me be man hat?

After emigrating to Western countries, one can notice a stronger focus on the nuclear family by the younger generations.

A saying, which expresses the importance of the family, is: Ono w aḥuni cal u abro d cammi, ono w u abro d cammi cal u nuxroyo ‘I and my brother against my cousin and I and my cousin against the foreigner’. It indicates that the closer a family member you are, the stronger the ties.