Random Blog A Musing Farf

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Sister was the Maid of Honor at a wedding this weekend to which the entire family was invited. Bride, who was a Protestant or some such thing by birth but a Jew by practice, married Groom, a Coptic Christian from an Egyptian family, in a Greek Orthodox wedding. Confused?

The wedding was an interesting mix of religious and secular traditions. One of the readings told of how just as Christ was the head of the Church, so Groom was head of the family and Bride should be subservient to him. Note to Groom: I can’t picture Bride as subservient to anyone so don’t hold your breath. On the other hand, the DJ played “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira so clearly no one was taking the whole “handmaiden of the Lord” thing too seriously.

A dance was performed by the bride and groom (separate from the usual first dance you generally see at weddings) where the groom wore a fez hat and danced with a stick. The bride then took the stick and they danced passing it back and forth. Husband and I asked a friend of Groom’s to explain the symbolism of the stick and he replied, “It dates from Ancient Egypt and is a symbol of the Groom’s power to beat Bride if she does not behave in the marriage.” I was incensed and ready to post about how traditions change and lose meaning over time but the roots of those traditions are totally offensive. Then I thought about my own wedding and how I circled Husband seven times as a symbol of building the walls of our home, but that others had heard the tradition as standing for the proposition that my life centered on Husband. Since the latter explanation makes me ill, I figured I should be careful before throwing stones.

I decided to hit up the internet for some research and it turns out that Groom’s friend was wrong. According to the websites I checked (and there were many), the stick symbolizes the sword used in battle during ancient times and represents the force by which the couple will use to defend their union. Very cool. In fact, I sort of wish we had done it at my wedding.

The wedding was one of the most fun I had been to in a long time and part of it had to do with how new and old traditions were mixed together. Even the chocolates handed out after the ceremony were a mix – white chocolate covered with milk chocolate. Yum. I took handfuls and put them in my purse. You know, Jews and food… This wedding also reinforced my belief that pretty much every culture has some sort of circle dance. In this case, people grabbed the Fez hat and danced in the center of the circle. Husband danced in the center of the circle wearing the Fez hat to JayZ. The perfect blend of cultures and a heck of a lot of fun.

Note to the Bride: The Godiva chocolate escort cards were an excellent touch. I ate mine and that of the McGuires, so it is a good thing they missed the wedding!


mara said...

While some wedding traditions are beautiful, many are whacked. How many people know that bridesmaids come from having women dress like the bride to act as decoys to save the bride from getting killed or kidnapped by a warring tribe. That you get your "best men" together to raid a neighboring village to kidnap your "wife," who you "carry over the threshold" because they're not likely to go willingly, and the "honeymoon" is from all the honey meade these women were given to loosen them up for sex. Ah, marriage.

Suzanne said...

Don't forget that a little-known meaning behind the smashing of the glass is the groom bustin' through the bride's hymen. Gotta love that one.

The Bride said...

Just to clarify - I celebrate Jewish holidays by adoption into the Farf family. You simply cannot miss a Farf family holiday -it is a priceless experience! Love the Farf fam! :)

mom said...

A really great time was had at the wedding. Even Father loosened up (maybe the Philly cheesesteak had something to do with that).
Do you know the reason June was a popular wedding month?...it was the month that most people took their yearly baths!