Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Matrimonio all’italiana (Italian Wedding)

Pete and I are having a Sunday wedding... this was largely driven by the fact that the place we wanted to have the ceremony and reception was fully booked on Saturdays for the 2008 summer/fall wedding season. So was many other places - but we were glad we at least have the place we wanted the very same weekend. As I was browsing for wedding ideas... this article came up. Lucky me us that Pete's Italian!

In Italy, Sunday marriages are considered to be the luckiest. Another superstition concerning Italian weddings is that the bride should not wear any gold on the day she is married, until wedding rings are exchanged.

According to the traditional Italian wedding custom, the bride will carry a satin bag (la borsa), in which guests place money to defer the expenses of customarily lavish weddings in Italy. Sometimes during the festivities the bag is guarded by the bride’s grandmother, or the bride might wear it and allow the male guests to put money in exchange for a dance with her.

An Italian wedding is a festival for all the invited guests. The wedding day begins with a Mass in the morning. The couple leaves the church and rides back to their families’ neighborhoods, then, the newlyweds spend some time together, while the guests are preparing the reception site for the festivities.

Before the banquet begins, sweet liquors are served to women, and strong drinks are served to men. The menu at an Italian wedding is nearly as important as the wedding itself. Guests may be served as many as 14 different courses with wine and other beverages. After dinner the customary multi-layered Italian wedding cake is served with espresso.

A cookie dance is started, where the bride and groom lead the guests dancing around the reception area, and then over the cake, where each person takes a piece. The non-dancers then can welcome themselves too. A traditional wedding circle dance, called the Tarantella, will be joined by all. Before the reception is over, the bride and groom usually break a glass. The number of pieces of shattered glass symbolize the number of years the couple will share.

At some weddings in Italy, a pair of white doves is released into the air, symbolizing the couple’s love and happiness. In Veneto, it is customary for the couple getting married to walk to the wedding chapel together. The townsfolk place obstacles in the bride’s path to see what kind of a housewife she will be. If she picked up a broom, for example, she would keep a clean house. If a child is in her way and she stopped to talk with him, she would be a good mother. Also, the bride and groom must cut a log in half with a double handled saw, before they reach the wedding site. This demonstrates the solidity of their relations.

Another popular wedding tradition is a ribbon, tied in front of the wedding chapel, symbolizing the bond between the couple being married. The actual wedding ceremony (sposalizio) is officiated by a priest or a civil authority. Old church traditions warn against marrying during Lent and Advent, and also in May and August. The celebration begins with a mass in the morning; dancing and feasting that follows may continue till early morning.

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