There was a really good discussion going on over at A Practical Wedding today about whether a wedding could shape a marriage. I believe that it can, due to the fact that depending upon the situation it can cause you and your intended spouse to come together as you make critical decisions about a wedding that will in turn, teach you both how to make decisions that you will need to make as a new family.
The comment thread that ensued was chock full of good thoughts as usual but as comment sections are wont to do, it turned into a discussion about traditions. Meg, who is the blog author, mentioned that it may be offensive to the Jewish community if non-Jews use a chuppah (a canopy that symbolizes the home that the couple will build together) in a wedding ceremony. I then commented how I felt the same way about the jumping the broom tradition that slaves used to signify that they had gotten married.
This is what I said:
It’s interesting that you would write about about the chuppah and it’s good to know that it could potentially offend members of the Jewish community. I guess I kind of feel the same way about the tradition of “jumping the broom” that is used in many African American wedding ceremonies. On some of the wedding boards I frequent, I have seen non-blacks incorporating it into their ceremonies. And while on the surface it IS a good thing, it’s bothersome in a way too that goes into my soul. I am the descendant of slaves, and as such jumping the broom was sometimes the only tangible symbol of marriage that they had and even that could be destroyed with the stroke of a pen if one spouse was sold away. And so I seek to honor those before me, who wanted to marry and couldn’t. And with the state of black marriage/family being what it is today anyway, the tradition takes on even more meaning, at least to me personally.
If you have read anything about jumping the broom, you should know that there are some non-black ethnic groups that have a variation of a broom jumping tradition and I fully acknowledge that black folks don’t have a lock on this, but the notion of folks just doing it because they think it’s cute and different and would make “their” wedding different does not sit well with me at all. I love the idea of a tea ceremony but I am not Chinese so I wouldn’t dream to incorporate that into our wedding. It just seems disrespectful and fraudulent.
At any rate, what kinds of traditions either cultural and familial traditions have you seen incorporated into a wedding? Did you have traditions in your wedding??