keeping traditions: Weddings, Part 1

There are some quintessential Romanian cultural experiences that can’t be missed:

  • cutting of the pig before Christmas (hopefully Christmas 2010 with the Catholic priest),
  • learning to use a scythe to clear fields (scheduled for August 2010),
  • riding a caruta (still working on it), and
  • celebrating a Romanian wedding.

This weekend we had the honor to be guests at the wedding of Alexandra Onofrei and Costel Pintea right here in Târgu Neam?.

A little background information…
The bride and the groom are fantastic people. Alexandra is the psychologist I work with everyday at my center. She’s smart, beautiful, generous, quiet, and patient (she puts up with ME everyday).  Costel her now-husband is a smiley warm guy who is the life of any party and also keeps the peace in the Romanian Jendarmerie.

A few weeks back, Alexandra said, “Veronica, you know that you and David are invited to the wedding.”  I was ecstatic because we wanted to experience a Romanian wedding but we didn’t want to assume anything.  But then I began to worry about the cost of it.  Wedding traditions are different here.  In the US, David and I (with some help from family) paid for all aspects of our wedding — food, drinks, flowers, music, etc. In Romania, the couple’s godparents (or na?i) pay for some of the costs, but anyone attending the wedding party/reception pays their own way.  And it can get pricey.  Pricey doesn’t necessarily fit in with a Peace Corp volunteer’s budget.

But then something beautiful happened.  A few days later, Alexandra came to me and said, “Veronica, I don’t want to offend you or David, but Costel and I don’t want you to pay anything to come to the wedding. We talked to our families and they agree.  We want you to be with us and experience our Romanian wedding.”  And then she started in about how great it is that we are here in Romania and how much she doesn’t understand it, but she admires and respects it.  I almost cried and graciously accepted.

Yesterday was their wedding day. We joined the festivities at 3PM on Saturday and didn’t get home until 5AM on Sunday morning.  It was great fun and at 9PM on Sunday night, I’m still recovering from too much fun, too much food, too much drink, and too little sleep. Over the next few days, I hope to post Part 2 — Civil and Religious Ceremonies and Part 3 – The Party.  So stayed tuned, because Romanians know how to do weddings!

In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of the beautiful bride as she’s being walked into city hall for the civil ceremony.

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