Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Armenian Engagement party

Recently I went to an Armenian engagement party. The first that I have ever been to. Manya and Gayane, teachers at my school, were throwing the party for there brother. My counterpart and I arrived a bit early to the party and played with Gayane's babies as they set up for the party. Manya's mother makes the best gata in all of Armenia, really, and kept insisting that I eat some, and I happily obliged, no wonder I have gained so much weight in this country!!!

When school was finished the rest of the teacher's from our school joined us at the house and we all sat down for a delicious and typical Armenian feast... there was just one problem, where were the bride and the groom?? No one seemed to mind that they had no showed up. We ate and drank toasts in their honor, but not once did anyone mention when they would come, or if they would come. Finally after we had been at the party for half an hour the groom came. He took a shot with us and then retired to the kitchen. We continued to eat in Armenian fashion until the bride came in. Now the bride had no relations to any of us at the party. We all in fact were only friends with the groom's sisters, but we made a seat for at the table, filled her plate with food and made toasts to her. I sat and watched her and couldn't help but to think of how strange she felt or how out of place. Here she was at her very own engagement party, without a single friend of her own. Her groom to be in the kitchen with his father, and strangers on each side of her. Her presence merely as a figure head, a sort of doll to be admired but nothing more. Soon the teachers began to dance, as the teachers at my school always do, and they demanded that she join them, and she did very timidly. As I watched, I tried to imagine what she was feeling. Was she nervous? Did she wish her groom would come and rescue her from a room full of strangers, as I most certainly would had I been her? Her face was blank and hard to read, but luckily it was explained to me that there are many engagement parties that a bride and groom go to, some will be with her relatives and friends, and some with his. I have been to 4 or 5 weddings here and I still can't get over how little the bride has to do with everything. How little attention she garners, and how much the family takes. It seems to me that Armenian weddings, are in the most part about the grooms family and have very little to do with the couple themselves. I can't help but to compare it with American weddings where attention is lavished on the bride, and everything tells a story of the couples love. There are many Armenian traditions that I love, but the more I learn about the weddings here, the sadder I feel for the bride. Just once I would like to go to an Armenian wedding where the bride smiles as if it is the best day of her life and she is truly happy. Just once I want to see her family happy and crying tears of happiness not sadness. Just once I want to feel as if the couple is so in love that they can't live without each other. I know that there are many weddings here where that is the case, I just haven't seen one yet



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1 comment:

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