Saturday, 24 February 2018

Traditions of Wedding

I INTRODUCTION

Marriage, socially recognized and approved union between individuals, who commit to one another with the expectation of a stable and lasting intimate relationship. It begins with a ceremony known as a wedding, which formally unites the marriage partners. A marital relationship usually involves some kind of contract, either written or specified by tradition, which defines the partners' rights and obligations to each other, to any children they may have, and to their relatives. In most contemporary industrialized societies, marriage is certified by the government.

In addition to being a personal relationship between two people, marriage is one of society's most important and basic institutions. Marriage and family serve as tools for ensuring social reproduction. Social reproduction includes providing food, clothing, and shelter for family members; raising and socializing children; and caring for the sick and elderly. In families and societies in which wealth, property, or a hereditary title is to be passed on from one generation to the next, inheritance and the production of legitimate heirs are a prime concern in marriage. However, in contemporary industrialized societies, marriage functions less as a social institution and more as a source of intimacy for the individuals involved.
Marriage is commonly defined as a partnership between two members of opposite sex known as husband and wife. However, scholars who study human culture and society disagree on whether marriage can be universally defined. The usual roles and responsibilities of the husband and wife include living together, having sexual relations only with one another, sharing economic resources, and being recognized as the parents of their children. However, unconventional forms of marriage that do not include these elements do exist. For example, scholars have studied several cultural groups in Africa and India in which husbands and wives do not live together. Instead, each spouse remains in his or her original home, and the husband is a "visitor" with sexual rights. Committed relationships between homosexuals (individuals with a sexual orientation toward people of the same sex) also challenge conventional definitions of marriage.

Debates over the definition of marriage illustrate its dual nature as both a public institution and a private, personal relationship. On the one hand, marriage involves an emotional and sexual relationship between particular human beings. At the same time, marriage is an institution that transcends the particular individuals involved in it and unites two families. In some cultures, marriage connects two families in a complicated set of property exchanges involving land, labor, and other resources. The extended family and society also share an interest in any children the couple may have. Furthermore, the legal and religious definitions of marriage and the laws that surround it usually represent the symbolic expression of core cultural norms (informal behavioral guidelines) and values.

II SELECTING A PARTNER

Although practices vary from one culture to another, all societies have rules about who is eligible to marry whom, which individuals are forbidden to marry one another, and the process of selecting a mate. In most societies, the mate-selection process involves what social scientists call a marriage market. The husband and wife come together out of a wide range of possible partners. In many non-civillized societies the parents, not the prospective marriage partners, do the "shopping." In civillized societies social rules have gradually changed to permit more freedom of choice for the couple and a greater emphasis on love as the basis for marriage.

Dating, Courtship, and Engagement.
In societies in which individuals choose their own partners, young people typically date prior to marriage. Dating is the process of spending time with prospective partners to become acquainted. Dates may take place in groups or between just two individuals. When dating becomes more serious it may be referred to as courtship. Courtship implies a deeper level of commitment than dating does. During courtship the individuals specifically contemplate marriage, rather than merely enjoy one another's company for the time being.

Courtship may lead to engagement, also known as betrothal—the formal agreement to marry. Couples usually spend some period of time engaged before they actually marry. A woman who is engaged is known as the man's fiancée, and the man is known as the woman's fiancé . Men typically give an engagement ring to their fiancée as a symbol of the agreement to marry.
In the past, dating, courtship, and engagement were distinct stages in the selection of a marital partner. Each stage represented an increasing level of commitment and intimacy. Although this remains true to some degree, since the 1960s these stages have tended to blend into one another. For example, modern dating and courtship often involve sexual relations. In general, people tend to date and marry people with whom they have characteristics in common. Thus, mate selection typically results in homogamous marriage, in which the partners are similar in a variety of ways. Characteristics that couples tend to share include race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, age, and the level of prestige of their parents.

Arranged Marriages

Historically parents have played a major role in choosing marriage partners for their children, and the custom continues in the world's developing countries today. Parental influence is greatest when the parents have a large stake in whom their child marries. Traditionally, marriage has been regarded as an alliance between two families, rather than just between the two individuals. Aristocratic families could enhance their wealth or acquire royal titles through a child's marriage. Marriage was also used as a way of sealing peace between former enemies, whether they were kings or feuding villagers.

The most extreme form of parental influence is an arranged marriage in which the bride and groom have no say at all. In a less extreme form of arranged marriage, parents may do the matchmaking, but the young people can veto the choice. Some small cultures scattered around the world have what social scientists call preferential marriage. In this system, the bride or groom is supposed to marry a particular kind of person—for example, a cousin on the mother's or father's side of the family.

In many traditional societies, marriage typically involved transfers of property from the parents to their marrying children or from one set of parents to the other. These customs persist in some places today and are part of the tradition of arranged marriages. For example, in our culture the bride's parents may give property (known as a dowry) to the new couple. The practice of giving dowries has been common in countries such as Greece, Egypt, India, and China from ancient times until the present. It was also typical in European societies in the past. Although the giving of dowries has been part of the norms of marriage in these cultures, often only those people with property could afford to give a dowry to the young couple.
Families use dowries to attract a son-in-law with desirable qualities, such as a particularly bright man from a poor but respectable family or a man with higher status but with less money than the bride's family has. In societies in which the giving of dowries is customary, families with many daughters can become impoverished by the costs of marriage In some societies, the groom's family gives property (known as bridewealth or brideprice) not to the new couple but to the bride's relatives. 
Particularly in places where bridewealth payments are high, the practice tends to maintain the authority of fathers over sons. Because fathers control the resources of the family, sons must keep the favor of their fathers in order to secure the property necessary to obtain a bride.

Conventions and Taboos

Marriage is part of a society's kinship system, which defines the bonds and linkages between people (see Kinship and Descent). The kinship system also dictates who may or may not marry depending on those bonds. In some cultures people may only marry partners who are members of the same clan—that is, people who trace their ancestry back to a common ancestor. This practice of marrying within one's group is called endogamy. Exogamy, on the other hand, refers to the practice of marrying outside of one's group—for example, marrying outside one's clan or religion.

One rule shared by virtually all societies is the taboo (social prohibition) against incest—sexual relations between two closely related individuals. Definitions of which relationships are close enough to trigger this taboo vary a great deal, depending on the society. In most cases the prohibition applies to relationships within the biological nuclear family: mother and son, father and daughter, or brother and sister. In many cultures, the taboo applies to relationships created by divorce and remarriage (step relationships) as well as to those based on biology. The prohibitions on incest and the rules for marriage do not necessarily coincide. In Britain, for example, steprelatives are not allowed to marry one another, but sexual relations between them are not legally forbidden. A few societies constitute exceptions to the general rule against incest. In ancient Egypt brother-sister marriage and sexual intimacy was permitted in the royal family, probably to maintain the "purity" of the royal bloodlines.

III WEDDING CEREMONIES AND CUSTOMS

The ceremony that signifies the beginning of a marriage is known as a wedding. Weddings may be simple or elaborate, but they occur in virtually all societies.

Ritual Aspects

Anthropologists characterize wedding ceremonies as rituals of transition, or rites of passage. These rites occur when people cross boundaries of age or social status. Any social transition, such as the birth of a child or the death of a person, sets off changes in the lives of all those connected with the individual. Weddings and other rites of passage dramatize these changes for all involved and also allow for the expression of emotions brought on by the events. Weddings announce to the community the union of the individuals marrying and allow the community to express its approval of and support for that union.

Wedding rituals throughout the world share several common features. An essential element of nearly all wedding ceremonies is the symbolic expression of the union between the individuals marrying. This union may be signified by the exchange of rings, the tying of the bride and groom's garments together, or simply the joining of hands. Feasting and dancing at weddings by family and friends signifies the community's blessing on the marriage.
The traditional romanian wedding is full of beautiful customs and ritual symbols destined to bring welfare and flowering to the young couple. The wedding is considered to be a mystery like birth and natural death. If the birth suit to the sunrise of life and the death to the sunset, the wedding is the daylight, the clearest for the human being, but also the hardest, because he consciously participate in the pass of the most important limit of his existence. In the traditinal Romanian village used to be an important moment for the community. The wedding represented a custom in the cycle of the life,that concentrated an enormous number of purification rites ment to bring friutfulness in the new couple.T hey are known various local wedding ways in Moldova,
Transilvania, Maramures, Tinutul Padurenilor, but the essential elements are the same.The wedding script used to roll for 4-5 days and the ceremony unfolded on stages dedicated to the prepatatifs,to certain rituals, culminating with the proper wedding on Sunday . Every part of the wedding used to be expressed by calls. We can descover the romanian traditional wedding customs at the "Romanian Williger Museum" and at the "National Museum of the Willage-Dimitrie Gusti" in Bucharest. Here we find objects and literary books wich refere to the wedding. The one who made the amplest literary book is the academician Florean Marian, the writer of the volume "Nunta la romani" published in 1890.

In the Thursday or the Saturday befire the wedding they used to go to invite at the wedding the family, friends and neightbours. The people which got to invite are selected from a cathegory which includes all the best friends of tye couple. The invitation starts from the god-father. The bride-groom tougether with the brother-in-law accopmpagnied by the singers, with the bottle of wine decorated with handkerchiefs and little bramches of fir with which they go to people's houses. Then they adress ceremonious: "If you have the pleasure to come to uor wedding!". If the people accept the invitation, they drink from the bottle of wine and the promise that they will come. If they refused they didin't even touch the bottle.

On Saturday at the groom's house used to gather his friends. Amoung them were ellected the "callers" who walked throght the village with a decorated gourd to invite the relavites and the neightbours. They are called "vornici", "gazde" and the bride's friends "druste" or "coltunarese".the young people have the obligation to prepare the groom and the bride for the wedding. At his house they used to organise the party of the flag or the party of the fir.

They used to decorate a spear with kerchiefs, bands, tassels, little belts and plants. The prevalent callers are red (life, happines) and green (vitality). On the big Sunday as early as the sun risses in the antendence of the god-parents they used to take a ritual bath for the perfect cleaning of the body before entering into another state. Concomitantly, the boys were assisting at the groom's shave and the girls and the bride's cowning. Her hair was plaited in odd tresses the pair being the husband. The natural flowers red or green, the tinsel, the golden coins used to consist the main ornament elements wich were added to the heardow like symbol of the freefulness. Above the hairdow the set in a circular corronet so that the evil remains out far away. The pomp formed by the groom, his friends and the fiddlers, first walked to the god-parents' house and then to the bride's. This rhode was crossed blatantly, with calls shrieks, but it was sprinkled with ritual tests. At the bride's house the dowry was showed of.

In everybody's eyes the girl turned away from the family, the bride broke above her head a knod-shaped bread. The pomp walked to chruch for the religious wedding. There, the priest put above their heads "pirostriile". The just married walked away tougether, carring a kerchief, that used to be kept until one of the died, when it will be broken in half. The kerchief was the recognition signe on the other world.
The song of the bride was interpretated by a singer while she was prepared by her god-mother. The other assistants were dancing "sarbe" and a specific round dance called "Boiereasca". Other dances of the bride are "You bride take your good day" and they dance also "Nuneasca" while the bride's mother is splitting napkins. It was interpreted as a ballad called "Godea-Goghea" in which they were talking about a bride which went to a bad mother-in-law.

The round dance is danced at the bride's house, at the preparative of the bride. In this dance the bride wears an apron on the shirt.. The round danca on the fir is danced outside, in the garden or at the bride's house. On Saturday evening the fir is decorated at a party which is equivalent with the detachement of the bride from the girls of her age.

Many weddings involve a religious ceremony. These ceremonies vary depending on the religion of the bride and groom. Various religions or denominations have distinctive wedding customs. Roman Catholic ceremonies involve a nuptial mass, during which many scriptural texts concerning marriage are read. The presence of a priest and at least two witnesses is essential, as is the expression of consent by the bride and groom. In Orthodox Jewish celebrations, the bride and groom stand under a chuppah—a canopy that symbolizes the home the couple will establish. Following the ceremony the groom smashes a wineglass. Most scholars believe this act commemorates the destruction of the first Jewish temple (the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem) by the Babylonians in 586 BC. In ceremonies governed by the Greek Orthodox Church, the "best man" places crowns attached by ribbon on the heads of the bride and groom, signifying divine sanction of their marriage.

Some couples prefer a nonreligious, or civil, wedding ceremony. Such weddings typically occur in commercial wedding chapels or reception halls, courthouses or other governmental offices, or outdoors. These events tend to be smaller and less formal affairs than traditional religious ceremonies. A government-certified, secular official administers the ceremony in the presence of at least two witnesses. Other couples elope—that is, they have a private wedding ceremony that does not involve a gathering of family and friends.

Most couples exchange some sort of marriage vows (promises). Vows may be prescribed by the church or written by the couple. Traditional Protestant vows include the promise to love and to cherish, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, until parted by death. The minister asks the bride and the groom if they each make this promise to the other and each responds "I do."
Following the wedding ceremony, religious or civil, many couples hold a reception. At the reception friends and family gather to eat, drink, listen to music and dance, make toasts, and give gifts to the bride and groom. During the reception, the couple typically cut a special, large cake that is shared with all the guests. The bride and groom may also conduct a receiving line where they greet and thank each guest for attending their wedding.

Many newlyweds take a honeymoon trip after their wedding. During the honeymoon, the couple can spend time by themselves exploring their new status as husband and wife.

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