Sunday, May 20, 2007

a traditional romanian wedding

saturday night i had the privilege of being invited to an orthodox romanian wedding. not to the wedding itself, but to the reception afterward. our landlord's son was getting married, and they invited us because we (amy and i) had never been to an orthodox wedding before. so we got to experience it first hand. and what an experience!

the reception started at eight in the evening. we arrived about 8.15, but the party really didn't get started until 9.30 or so. what i mean by that is that the dancing started. and didn't stop. there would be breaks periodically, but only very rarely. so wonderful to see older couples dancing away. amazing that it's the norm for people to know how to dance well, and how to enjoy themselves that way. at some points there were more people on the dance floor than sitting down at the tables (which is a feat, considering that there were more than 100 people there). much of the music was older romanian music, so sometimes the singers had lots of 'accompaniment' with the guests joining in.

food is also very important .. various small sweets on the tables, as well as rolls, water, coke, and orange juice. each guest had 3 glasses -- one for white wine, one for a stronger alcohol (cognac for the men and something a bit sweeter for the women), and one for something non-alcoholic. romanians do like their drinking, that's for sure. the first plate of food was cold appetizers .. salami and cheese and chicken salad and a few other things. second -- chicken with a few vegetables and mamaliga (sorta like a tasty cornmeal mush). third -- fish with steamed mixed vegetables. fourth -- pork with potatoes. (all these were full plates -- it's important to have too much food, somehow. like you get what you pay for. the tradition is that you give not presents, but large amounts of money to help pay for what you ate and enjoyed and how you were entertained, as well as for the bride and groom.) then last, they had cake, of course! with maybe six or seven tiers? it was tall!

certainly an experience i'm glad for. but am glad it doesn't happen that often -- since the party started at 8 pm and when we left at 4 am, there were still hours of party left! a real celebration.