In past few decades the world has got a new shape. The economic and social structures have faced vast changes in western countries. Europe is not the exceptional as many things have changed during the past decades. As the new changes come the family and life style in Europe are there to be bound for facing some new challenges. The socio economic living style has changed profoundly. Churches are there to restore the human dignity and they have taken the difficult situations faced by the society as the greatest concern. On the other hand, the new threats and challenges to the European society are among the prime issues in parliamentary debates.
Among the difficulties, some challenges come from the families themselves. The new concept of “family” has redefined the concept of marriage. The modern European living phenomena has established various family models like – “single parent family”, “homosexual family”, “recomposed family” and the “de facto unions”. The single parent family is denying the existence of father and thus growing the matriarchal model. The recomposed family is praising the conception of nuclear family, which is actually a form of broken family and obviously a broken family is not suitable for a child. Surprisingly the tendency of homosexual family model is being followed by various couples, who are endangering the definition of family, as this concept is actually empting the idea of family itself.
The changes in philosophical and anthropological perspective that have brought by introducing secularization in society, the European families are facing new challenges today. By denying the process defined by the nature the European society has been sinking into the grave of dehumanization and lack of proper judgment. People are gradually lacking the ability of solving the ethical problems. Though a huge numbers of ethical commissions are formed but no one can bait upon their judgment. One particular danger entailed by the unjust laws voted in by some parliaments in Europe concerns the beginning of human life. It is said that human life has thus turned into laboratory material despite the unconditional respect for human life written into the Constitutions of States and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Like the above problems there are various new challenges remaining that have been playing with the traditional structure of European society. The pastoral care is the must be taken by the responsible persons inside or outside the church. A research on the modern European family suggests that the pastoral care must be grown as network for reflecting more effects.
The economical dependency, resources and social values draw three layers in European society. The diverse and large statistical data represent the three clusters of European society. Though these deviations are general pattern but have a big impact on living. The types also indicate the responsibility and social expenditures of the associated states.
The States in Southern Europe show relatively low pattern of expenditures on social program, as the heavy financial dependency raises upon the traditional extended families and thus there are low level of gainful employment. The class distinctions and income disparities are very much notable that the poverty level is very high though the economic gap between generations is prominently narrow.
The Nordic countries are completely opposite comparing to the southern fringe, as the government spends a large amount on various social programs and the dependency on traditional families is limited. The labor market participation is very appreciating and that is why the poverty levels are notably low. The lower income disparities and almost zero level class distinctions are also play the important role to dismiss the poverty line. But the early dependency on young people draws a huge economical gap between generations.
The remaining European countries are intermediate in terms of both geographical location and institutional structure.
These three general patterns are largely leaned on some socio-economical-structural factors like, Inter-generational differences, Distribution of wealth, The act of state and market, Relation of labor market, role of traditional families, Acceptance of public sector and Participation of women.
Researchers have shown that the European Society is structured on three strong pillars- family, market and state. The extensive social insurance system and labor market policies drag the chances of full employment. The Nordic countries follow this pattern. This pattern also ensures the equal distribution of wealth and equal promises to be employed. On the contrary the Southern Societies nurtures the high level of unemployment or unequal distribution of wealth as this region is the combination of weaker markets and heavy dependency on traditional family. The societies in Southern Europe do not allow young people to be engaged in earning. The young adult depend on the parental guidance until the late age and thus they use a large number of family resources. Joachim Vogel (Statistics Sweden and
the University of Umeå) outlines – “However, the Nordic countries comprise an island of egalitarianism in a sea of neo-liberalism, with its evident tendency toward increasing class divisions; and there are strong forces at work to ensure that the Nordic model of society is dismantled. At this point in history, the future of that model does not appear to be very promising.”
The Christmas celebration is the greatest celebration across the world though this celebration has its different names depending upon the regions. The English evangelists used to organize the program –“The Masses of Christ” in December and thus it was given the name “Christmas”. The French word Noël came from the Latin word “natalis”, which means “birth” and the German people call it as Weihnacht. The celebration and tradition are held in different ways in different countries. Different traditions and symbols are attached with this celebration in different countries. Europe has its own identity and symbols attached to this festival.
This festival is deeply rooted to some ancient European practices and even some are dragged from the mythology. Saint Nicholas Feast day is an important part of celebration in some Eastern European countries and the people get together to enjoy the twelve dishes in Xmas eve dinner. In Netherlands this Saint Nicholas is much more important festival rather than the Christmas itself. The children wear angel and devil costume on 5th December night and collect gifts from houses. In some European countries people believe that Santa Clause visits their homes in the morning of the day 6th December to bring smile into young people’s face. Some regions celebrate the advent, which corresponds the arrival of baby Jesus. This celebration begins on 11th November and held for four weeks. People wear the advent crown. The crown holds four candles to represent four seasons in a year. Like Netherlands, Swedish people celebrate Saint Lucia feast on 13th December night. They celebrate this feast to remember how Lucia helped Christians who were persecuted by the Romans to survive by bringing them food in their hiding places. Father Christmas is very much associated to the Christmas festival in some European Countries. This father Christmas is known as Santa Clause in English, Babbo Natale in northen Italy, Mos Craciunen in Romania. But the character was unknown to the Anglo Saxon countries. It is believed that the Father Christmas arrives by sleigh and presents gifts to children on the night of Christmas Eve. The people living in Southern Italy believe that the witch Befana distributes gift to the children on 6th January.
The Christmas celebration in Europe is wrapped with some superstitions, customs and prophecies, which follow the ancient traditions. Though this celebration is always equated to fast but the meals and feasts take essential part and organized in various forms in different parts in Europe.