Cultural Glimpse

Enjoying diversity

Tag: Brides

Committed Happily Ever After

Committed: A Love Story is the latest audio book I’m listening to. In it, author Elizabeth Gilbert gives a colossal account of marriage. From the tribal women in Vietnam to modern day Americans, she observes, compares and contrasts marriages, their success and failures, and comes to the conclusion that love is not enough to make a marriage work. You need to also put some thought into it. That’s what differentiates infatuation from real love. Furthermore, she highly recommends that men and women do not rely on their spouses for happiness. Each person is responsible for his or her own state of mind and spirit.

In a memoir I listened to last week, Three Weeks with My Brother, author Nicholas Sparks has a conversation about marriage with his brother Micah. Micah believed that the most important thing to a successful marriage was communication. Nicholas responded, “What’s the use of communication, in the case of an affair for instance, if you are not committed? If two people are committed to the marriage, if they really want to make it work, then they’ll find a way to do it. No matter what happens in life.”

Both Gilbert and Sparks give good old fashioned advice which I would like to share with newlyweds in general, particularly the newlyweds I attended the wedding of last Sunday – where in the midst of a storm and while the power was out inside our home, my family and I enjoyed the ambience of a fancy and beautiful wedding, delicious food, and more food, and my favorite, a violinist who during dinner played famous classics, like the Godfather love theme.

Cheers to healthy, happy marriages!

Firas and Nora's Wedding2

The Candle Dance

Weddings in the Middle East vary from country to country and even village to village. While the majority include Arabic songs, belly dancing and the depka (a line dance), each region has its own traditional dances, songs, and in some cases, their own language.

Yesterday I attended my friend’s Palestinian wedding. It was quite beautiful, held at a banquet center with an elegant décor, delicious cuisine, and a panoramic view of its lake and golf course. Towards the end of the party, luckily before we decided to leave, we got to witness the candle dance.

The candle dance is a procession of women led by the bride. She enters the banquet hall, accompanied by her mother and mother-in-law, walks to the dancing floor and takes turn sharing the candle dance with the women who love and support her.

I tried to research the history and symbolism of this dance. The only thing I found is this from the book “La Milenaria Danza del Vientre, el lenguaje oculto… de Amir Thaleb.”

“This dance was inherited from ancient rites and ceremonies that took place in sealed religious temples, the lighting of the candles have a purely mystical significance and is a way to provide spiritual light to the various events and deities. Today this dance is usually performed at weddings or baptisms as being a symbolic way of illuminating the newly betrothed or newborn in his new path to take.”

Amir Thalbe adds that “in all these dances, dating back many millennia ago it is impossible to define them in their real meaning.”

Well, as long as they are kept alive, those watching and participating in these sacred rituals can make their own definitions and meanings out of them.

Candle Dance