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Learning Of Other Cultures...

May 18, 2008
I had to write this article because I could not believe the Wedding I attended last night. It was totally unbelievable!

Unbelievable because of these two facts. First, they were Greek Orthodox which in itself means that the Wedding and Reception is going to be totally decorated to the Max and the Wedding and Reception will be nothing but fun! Second, all of these people are Gypsy's! No, I am not calling them Gypsy's... they told me that what they preferred I called them. With those two facts, Greek Orthodox and Gypsy's, I knew I was really in for a treat, and really almost a culture shock.

And I was exactly right. It was quite a wild night and celebration! Let me tell you a little about how Gypsy Greek Orthodox families party.

Well first, the Reception takes place before the Wedding. Now I understand that this is not true for normal Greek Orthodox people, however, this is true for Gypsy Greek Orthodox families.

During the Reception there is tons of dancing. And when I says tons of dancing, I mean, they don't stop dancing for literally 4 hours straight. I saw this lady dancing the same way, with a type of Maypole in one hand and a huge diamond crown with a veil in the other hand and about 3 hours into her dancing I asked her "Why have you been dancing so long without a break and what are these things your holding?" She told me that she was holding the crowned veil and dancing with it because it is tradition for her, one of the Aunts to dance around with the crowned veil in her hand because it is to bring them good luck and that at the end of the dancing she will crown the Bride and will pray over the crown and will put a blessing on her and her new husband. As for the maypole, she told me that it was because May 1st was the Greek Orthodox Easter and this was them celebrating this Easter season of their traditional heritage. I really enjoyed learning all of this culture information. How fun to have something a little different at a Reception.

So the Reception continues and everyone is dancing. All of the sudden, after 2 hours of dancing, the music stops suddenly. It was quite jolting to my system because I had been hear and the same song played over and over again for literally 4 hours. It was fun. But when the music stopped I was thinking to myself, "What's going on?" Everyone rushed over to the tables and started munching away on what I really thought was a feast. Gourmet steaks, potatoes, salad, cheesecake, casseroles, etc. The menu went on and on. I couldn't believe it. Dinner seemed to be over quickly.

Once it was done a few men including the Grooms Father, Grandfather and a few of his Uncles went around to each table carrying a single bread basket asking for a donation for the Bride and Groom. Each person gave a t least $300! I couldn't believe the generosity. Quickly the bread basket because a mobile savings account, and when it was all said and done, the Patriarchs had collected close to $10,000 total from the guests. It was quite amazing.

So, I thought that was the end of the evening. The Reception was to go from six to eleven at night and it was fifteen minutes until eleven o'clock. So I start to wind down when all of the sudden the traditional Wedding March song started playing on the overhead and all the sudden down the stairs come the bride in a beautiful white dress, which was a surprise to me because the Bride was dressed in a pink gown all night which I though was just another tradition. With no advanced notice the Bride and her Father start walking between all the guests and walk to the dance floor. Once they arrived at the dance floor the song changed from the Wedding March to Butterfly Kisses, which is a very popular Father-Daughter dance song right now. They dance for about one minutes, and during the rest of the song the Bride gets passed to over 25 guys from her Groom, to Uncles, Cousins, Friends, you name it! She dances with so many people, it was like a whirlwind. Once that was done, everyone at the Reception gets in a circle and dances one last time to the tradition Greek song and goes in circle singing "Op" and "Opa" every now and then. Once the songs ends all the Aunts and girl Cousins run over to the Bride and bobby pin the huge crown to the Brides head, once that's done the run over to the cake, cut it, feed each other a slice, take a sip of wine, and all the sudden a Greek Priest appears, pushes his head to the Bride and Grooms, whispers something in their ear for about 30 seconds and then pronounced them married. Everyone screams, the Priest ties a red ribbons around the Bride and Grooms arms to show them joining together. All the family pushes the newlyweds over to a leafy arch and tons of people take pictures with them within 3 minutes. After, the Bride and Groom suddenly run off and jump in a limo and the party totally dies.

Literally from the end of the bread basket to the limo taking off, they did all of that in fifteen minutes. I could not believe it!

I learned something really valuable last night. I remember thinking, "Geez, this is not romantic! They just rushed though all the important romantic stuff." However, I remember looking at all the guests and seeing how happy they all were and I thought, "Humm... you know what? This is their life, it is their culture and who they are." After that I was so happy for them and learned to enjoy the whole night and just soak up all the different culture things I was being exposed to, and for me, that was really, one of the best Weddings I have ever attended.
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