We all now live in a multi-cultural society so it is only natural for us to “borrow” customs from each other. As our horizons widen through travel - either with air miles or, virtually, via the Internet - we can cherry-pick appealing cultural ideas and make them our own.
This trend has become increasingly apparent in all areas of our lives - from the expanding selection of food available in even the most mundane of supermarkets, through to the daily language we use.
Whilst the effects of this blurring of cultural lines, might cause you some concerns, surely we can all embrace the freedom and increased opportunities it gives us to party and celebrate.
Father’s Day, Baby Showers, Halloween and Prom Nights might all be relatively recent additions to UK diaries, but surely, most of us would agree that each is a fun and joyful event… so, why not?
It could be argued that those of us who mutter about commercialism and added expense might just be a tad jealous that we missed out on all the fun. Personally I am a little sad to be a member of the generation of Brits who never got to dance at a prom, spend a maternity leave afternoon with girlfriends opening baby presents, or experience a sugar high trick or treating on October 31st. Undoubtedly, those who had these milestone experiences will have more and arguably richer memories to look back on.
But - the good news is - it’s never too late…
Nowadays, everyone can have the celebration they want to mark whatever occasion they desire.
Your wedding can be held anywhere, and it can incorporate elements from any culture you choose. Broom Jumping (believed to have originated in Wales) and the Celtic tradition of Hand Fasting are growing in popularity and you no longer have to be Jewish to break a glass underfoot or to shout “Mazeltov”!
If you are already married and were perhaps disappointed by your original ceremony, or some life changes have made you look again at your relationship, it’s never too late to renew your vows. A Vow Renewal Ceremony can take any form you choose. As with a wedding ceremony, it can incorporate special elements taken from any country or period in history - or, with the guidance of an imaginative Celebrant, you can invent something unique yourself.
My plan this week is to investigate the rich and colourful traditions of India where the weddings are globally renowned for their elaborate ceremonies and opulent celebrations that continue for several days.
The numerous wedding ceremony rituals include an engagement ceremony which officially marks the beginning of the wedding agreement between the two families. It is also known as the “sagai” or ring ceremony and is a great excuse to put on your most colourful clothes and have a party.
More on this next time…