My Big Fat Jewish Wedding

…and by “My” I mean Jewish weddings in general.
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Since I have been preoccupied with weddings galore, I figured it would be a good topic of discussion to bring back the blog. During a 4-week span, I attended 3 weddings – 1 was Catholic, 1 was a Jewish mix and the last one was a traditional Jewish wedding. While all of the weddings were beautiful and a lot of fun, there was definitely a distinction between the Catholic and the Jewish wedding.

(Sidenote: The Wedding Singer just came on MTV, which is definitely a sign that this is the blog topic I should be writing this week.)

Signing of the ketubah

Signing of the ketubah

In a traditional Jewish wedding, there is a part of the ceremony called the signing of the *ketubah. The signing takes place before the actual wedding ceremony. Once the document is signed by the bride, groom and witnesses, the bride and groom are officially married. So technically speaking, unlike other religions, the ceremony with the exchanging of the rings and vows is not the official bond. Therefore, it is common that the bride and groom have already seen each other before walking down the aisle.

Chuppah

Chuppah

The actual ceremony takes place under a *chuppah. This is a canopy-like cloth or sheet that stretches over 4 poles. It is the symbol of the home the couple will soon build together. Towards the end of the ceremony, the groom breaks a glass with his foot. This is then followed by everyone screaming “Mazel Tov!” There are a number of reasons why people think the breaking of the glass tradition is done. It is actually a symbol that even during the happiest of times, we must remember that life is fragile.

Let the party begin!

The reception is filled with some really fun traditions. Before any food is served, there are a few blessings, such as the *Hamotzi, which is typically done with a loaf of *challah bread. Another fun and common tradition is for the bride and groom to sit in separate chairs, which are then lifted up by strong wedding guests. The bride and groom each grab hold of a cloth, such as a napkin to symbolize their new bond. This is usually done during the *Horah, the traditional Jewish folk dance. To start the dance, everybody forms a circle while holding hands, and steps forward toward the right with the left foot, then follows with the right foot. The left foot is then brought back, followed by the right foot. This is done in a fast and cheerful motion to the right. It typically gets a bit crazy, which makes it even more fun.

During the horah

During the horah

Now that you have some knowledge of Jewish weddings, go put on your dancing shoes, buff up to hold the chairs and get your Horah on!
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*Ketubah: a document that lays out the rights of the wife and the obligations of the husband.
*Chuppah: literally means a canopy or a covering.
*Hamotzi: the blessing before eating bread.
*Challah: traditional Jewish egg-based bread that is absolutely delicious – need I say more?
*Horah: performed to the Jewish song, Hava Nagila.

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June 17, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.