Hey DJ, you mind cuing up a good song for this article? Thanks, bro.
Time for a shout out as the song loads.
Aceasta melodia este dedicata din partea mea, Sam Cel Roman, pentru toti fratiorii mei pe care au ridicat un pahar bun, sau rulat o marfa buna cu mine, si a stat de vorba chiar pana zori de zi. In curand ma casatoresc, si fac o familie, dar niciodata nu am sa va uit! Mereu mereu mereu I will always love you!!!
This song goes out to all the good folks who shared a glass of the good stuff with me, or passed me one on the left-hand side, and to all the crazy fools and sons of bitches who stayed up all night talking and dancing with me. Yah, it’s time for me to change my direction now, but I will always have nothing but love for ya.
Okay, good. Tthe song is playing now. Feel free to sing along with Hank if you know the words!
Now that two families are blending in one, it’s time to talk about wedding traditions. Yeehaw!
There is a very old tradition that, on the day of the wedding, the bride is equipped with four talismans:
- Something old
- Something new
- Something borrowed; and
- Something blue
This tradition stems from an old poem, that itself refers to very old folkloric traditions from Europe.
Other common American wedding traditions are below. Of course, as with all things, people get married every day and don’t do these things, or do variants on them.
- Bride wears a white, formal gown
- It is considered extremely bad luck for the groom to see his bride wearing the gown before the wedding ceremony
- The bride carries a bouquet of flowers
- Groom wears a tuxedo
- Bride’s family pays for the wedding, reception, and all related costs
- As such, the decision on whom to invite is made by the bride (or couple), and price is a factor
- The religious ceremony is considered the “official” wedding rites, but in reality the couple may have received their marriage license (from the gov’t) days earlier
- The wedding ceremony combines religious and civil rites in one
- The wedding rings are a gold band for the groom, and a ring with an inset diamond for the bride
- After the wedding is a “reception”, a party where the couple receive the gifts and congratulations from the invitees
- The gifts are pre-arranged from a list, and usually consist of housewares and other goods for the house – cash is sometimes given, but rarely
- At the reception, the bride and groom have a ceremonial first dance as a married couple
- After the first dance, everyone is invited to dance, usually to modern music, and people dance however they wish (freestyle)
- At the reception, the bride and groom ceremonially cut a special cake together – one slice is then saved and put aside, then frozen, and eaten a year later on the anniversary of the wedding
- During the reception, many friends and family members stand up and give speeches about the couple
- At one point during the reception, the bride turns her back on her unmarried female friends and tossed the bouquet up and over her head. The woman who catches it is traditionally expected to marry next
- The reception party lasts 3-4 hours at most
- At the end of the reception, the couple formally exit together, and all invitees pelt the couple with rice (or birdseed). The couple then drive away in a pre-aranged vehicle.
- The friends of the groom, before the end of the reception, decorate the pre-arranged vehicle with signs like “Just Married” and tie cans to the bumper, etc, to make noise as the car drives away
- The couple then immediately depart for their honeymoon, usually in another city (or country)
As I said, there are a million variants of this, but that’s a “traditional” American wedding.
As soon as you hear a couple is engaged to be married, you must immediately greet them with, “Casa de piatra!”. This literally means “house of stone”, and although not everyone is aware of it, this saying is in direct reference to Matthew 7:24-27 (link goes to King James version).
Here’s the modern Romanian translation:
De aceea oricine aude aceste cuvinte ale Mele şi le împlineşte va fi asemănat cu un om înţelept, care şi-a construit casa pe stâncă.
S-a revărsat ploaia, au venit şuvoaiele de apă, au suflat vânturile şi au izbit în casa aceea, dar ea nu s-a prăbuşit, pentru că avea temelia pusă pe stâncă.
Însă oricine aude aceste cuvinte ale Mele şi nu le pune în practică va fi asemănat cu un om nesăbuit, care şi-a construit casa pe nisip.
S-a revărsat ploaia, au venit şuvoaiele de apă, au suflat vânturile şi au izbit în casa aceea, şi ea s-a prăbuşit, iar prăbuşirea i-a fost mare.
Here are some more traditions:
- Before getting married, the couple must find a “godfather” and “godmother”, who will help arrange everything, and may pay a large portion of the wedding costs
- The bride wears a formal, white gown
- The bride carries a bouquet of flowers
- All female guests must bring flowers for the bride
- The groom wears a suit
- (Moldova) – The groom wears a sash over his suit
- Wedding rings are simple gold bands, or sometimes even steel bands, without inset gems (for both bride and groom)
- A group of musicians and the groom officially come and “take” the bride to the wedding
- All cars (or carts) used for the wedding are decorated with ribbons and bows, and proceed “ambassador style” without stopping at red lights, flashing their headlights, and constantly honking their horns
- Cars may additionally be decorated with dolls, teddy bears, or other figurines on the front grille that resemble a bride and groom
- Wedding takes place on Sunday (most), or Saturday
- The couple first gets officially married at City Hall
- The couple then go to a church and perform a religious ceremony
- (Moldova esp) – all female members of the wedding party must erupt in ululations after every transition, Arab style
- That evening, there is a mammoth party held, where the celebrations are quite boisterous and enthusiastic. The party can easily last all night until dawn.
- The party has catered food, served in multiple courses, plus a ton of alcohol
- The traditional gift is cash money, rarely other gifts like housewares
- All important guests know the “price” of how much money to bring to the wedding
- Therefore, whom to invite is based on how much you want to lean on that person, since it is costing them, not the bride/groom
- The married couple partakes in an official first dance
- The dancing afterwards is formal style, such as waltzes – only late at night does “freestyle” dancing take place
- The honeymoon may take place much later, or never at all
- The money received at the wedding is designed to go towards buying a house (or apartment)
- Every single cousin, friend, neighbor, buddy, ally, friend of a friend, and person you ever met must be invited to the wedding, and they are obliged to attend, with the understanding that when it’s their turn, you have to return the favor
Of course, as with the American traditions, there’s always some variations. Romanians in Maramures usually get married on Saturdays, for instance, rather than the much more popular Sunday in the rest of Romania (and Moldova).
And, nobody quite knows why, but it seems to be a universal rule that the food served at a wedding is total crap LOL
The King’s Traditions
As already discussed, there are important things being done in preparation for my wedding, including the forgiveness of debts, sins, and trespasses (yes, everyone).
I am also arranging gifts for all members of my current, and future, families. I have also given gifts to other important people in my life. For all the readers of my blog, I’ve already given the gift of my awesome new cat book.
However, I realized not everybody has a cat, or is interested in cats. Fair enough! For all the rest of you, here is what I got:
The digital version of my book The Complete Insider’s Guide to Romania (2011 version) is now available for all of you totally free by clicking here. You will need the coupon code, which is: AE67D.
This offer expires on the date of my marriage (September 22) so if you’ve always wanted to read my book on Romania, but never had the money, now is your chance! As noted, this is the original 2011 version, the first book I ever wrote. A tiny percentage of it is outdated, but 99% of it is still perfectly valid, so feel free to download and enjoy it.
A Blend of Traditions
Since nothing I do ever makes any sense, there is one more tradition that I will be observing in this marriage. That is, of course, opening the door to generosity in its multiple forms. Since that confuses some people, let’s get a few things straight.
- Our wedding is already paid for, thank you very much :)
- Both Cristina and I have friends, family, and people all over the world, in multiple time zones, who have all kinds of traditions
- It is literally impossible for everyone to be present physically in Chisinau when we get married
- Therefore receiving gifts online makes practical sense; and
- Even though it should go without saying, OBVIOUSLY nobody is required to give us anything. Don’t want to give? No problem! Seriously :)
- I’m working on live streaming the wedding via a password-protected site – more details soon.
- We will have a simple religious ceremony in nature
- We are NOT going to have every cousin and nephew in Moldova attending LOL – just a quiet, intimate ceremony by a few close friends and family members.
Are we straight now? Hope so :)
Quit Talking, More Dancing
You’re right! I’ll let Hank play it out one more time for ya.
Don’t ask me,
Sam, why do you drink?
Sam, why do you roll smoke?
Why must you live out the stories you wrote?
Lordy, I have loved some ladies.
And I have loved Jim Beam.
And they both tried to kill me in 2013.
When that doctor asked me,
‘Sam, how’d you get in this condition?’
I said, ‘Hey sawbones, I was just carrying on
an old Cleo family tradition.” :)