Archive for December 2006

Assyrian Weddings Suffering an Identity and Adherence Crisis

How much in trouble are we, when even our own weddings are suffering from an identity crisis? Big time! But when not a lot is going right for our nation and society, weddings will not be an exception. Assyrian weddings, and for some time now, have been suffering a serious identity crisis. What does this ‘identity crisis’ entail or mean? it is our inability to distinguish our centuries old and beautiful traditions from those of other ethnic groups. We are not just borrowing from other nations’ traditions, we are sometimes copying them. Problem is, we don’t even know how to copy these traditions to make our weddings look better and more modernized. We are just confusing things and ruining our own weddings and culture. From food, to music and many things in between, our weddings are starting to lose their cultural value. They need to be put back on track.

Our weddings are not complete without dance and music of course. Assyrian and non-Assyrian. But lately, we have been relying excessively on non-Assyrian music, both in the wedding itself and in the wedding video. I was watching a wedding video not too long ago, and I could swear to you, there was more English music in it than there was Assyrian. Of course, this may have been the choice and preference of the bride, the groom or both. But common sense tells you, and out of respect for traditions and the preservation of the Assyrian image in our weddings, it would have been nicer if there was a balance of music between Assyrian and non-Assyrian. Playing Arabic and other non-Assyrian forms of music is another indication of an identity crisis. It is not an identity crisis when a few songs are played. But when hours and hours are being dedicated to Arabic music and dance, then you know there is something seriously wrong. And it becomes even more serious when people start to get annoyed when the singer goes back to singing Assyrian!

It is not just about music and dance. It is also about other social norms, including adherence, food serving, and how our own children and youth behave. When it comes to adherence and our abiding by the rules, Assyrians are notoriously bad. That is, we never show up on time, as indicated on the invitation card. Nor do the bride and groom themselves. We are almost always late. This has created an uneasy feeling amongst even the most organized and professional in our society, and has caused them to go with the flow as well and just show up late as well. Why show up on time, if no one will be there? It is time we stuck to the time agreed-upon, starting early and finishing early.

After all, why drag the weddings to the early hours of the morning, when most people are starting to feel tired and sleepy. The bride and the groom and their best men and women usually have to wake up as early as 5 in the morning to get ready. It is mind-boggling how they have so much time to prepare, yet they only get to the banquet hall an hour or two after what is indicated on the invitation card. As for children and the behavior of some young people? well that is a whole different story. Let us just say that our weddings would be much more fun and organized without a lot or most of them.

Our weddings, much like our language, is one way we can use to preserve our culture and traditions. Unfortunately, we are not doing so. We are making our weddings a mess. This is not to suggest our weddings are not fun, because they quiet are. But fun doesn’t necessarily mean they are also organized, because they are quiet messy, unprofessional. As well, they are starting to get very un-Assyrian as time goes by. We need to get back on track. We need to return to our great Assyrian traditions, while keeping up with the modernization. There is nothing wrong with playing Arabic music and dance. What is wrong is when people go there to just enjoy the Arabic dance, and forget what they are there for. And if our weddings are to be made more fun, people need to show up on time and early, starting from the bride and groom themselves. Otherwise, our weddings will risk becoming nothing more than a place where there is no purpose, and each one going on their own flow and liking. Let us fix it now, before it gets there.

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