Happy Birthday Axolotl!Talking about incest, I just got back from an orthodox jewish wedding -- wait a second those two things have nothing in common.
I abhor tradition, so the idea of going to an event that's dunked in three thousand years of history... well it's not exactly my slice of challah. I'll get straight to the point shall I? These are my ignorant gentile impressions.
Firstly it took so long to get going, we were there at 7pm, but it took them to 9pm to start the ceremony. We weren't sure if this was normal, there seemed to be a fair bit of confusion. We spent our time trying to pick out which women were hiding their hair beneath wigs for religious reasons, and wondering why some ladies' dresses were longer than others. As you might be able to tell I spent most of this time around the women folk, the men folk were in their own little room, a scary room, a room I was not willing to enter... a room of singing rabbis! I told you this was going to be ignorant.
Finally something happened, the men came out while dragging the groom tightly by the arms, his face was ashen, he did not at all look pleased about this. He was brought before his bride and the rabbi, she looked extremely pissed. There were sharp words, hand guestures, stares and many shakes of the head, before the groom tore himself away and walked out of the room.
I have no idea what happened, none of us gentiles did, it looked like the wedding was cancelled, but no one seemed too concerned, how odd. We found out that the bride did not like the conditions, which condition I don't know, I have no clue of the conditions at all. What we had witnessed seemed to be a standoff, a "that's my final offer take it or leave it!", maybe it was something else.
Five minutes later the groom came back in, less ashen this time, something had been resolved, candles were lit and the bride's veil was... veiled. We all rushed outside to the ceremony, it was 9pm already.
Haphazard is a good word for the ceremony if you compare it to the christian weddings I normally get dragged to. A tiny stage with at least twelve bearded men huddled all around the bride and groom, inviting other men on stage to see or to talk. It didn't make much sense to me. Women sat on the left, men on the right, just the first signs of the separation of the sexes to come. I will gloss over the ceremony, except for the part where they lost a rabbi -- pull him out of a hat, I shouted, no actually I didn't.
The meal was ok except for the fact that the salad had been sitting on the table since 6pm. The dancing was separated and very entertaining, males on the left, women on the right, divided by screens. High energy and plenty of displays of public affections, just not between opposite sexes. We were sat on an odd table, old orthodox jewish women bookended by their husbands. It became very apparent to me that while the males ruled all things spiritual, the women ruled everything else with a tight fist.
After we finally ate the main course at eleven thirty, we made our excuses and escaped during the second dance of same sex bonding.
Sorry for the lack of sense and punctuation, it's 1am and I am being hurried.