I was working on a story and mentioned within it an uncle who wasn't really an uncle. He was unrelated to the family but was a close friend of my father's. We referred to him as "Uncle" and his wife as "Aunt." We also had within our family some distant cousins, 2nd or 3rd or even further removed, whom we referred to as Aunt or Uncle.
I was wondering if bestowing familial honorifics was a common practice within many other cultures. I come from an Eastern European (Ukrainian) background. I know that in some Asian cultures it is (or at least was) polite to refer to elders, even strangers, as "Uncle" or "Grandmother."
My own sons refer to my best friend and his wife as Uncle Mike and Aunt Virginia. I like the idea of conferring honourary uncleships and auntships to special friends. It carries the respect of a "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Sir" but with a special, affectionate component.
Any honourary aunts, uncles or grandparents in your family?