Weddings are odd affairs. They are wonderful, joyous celebrations that everyone wants to be invited to and to be a part of. They are also (let's be honest here) oddly uncomfortable. Unless the wedding is for a family member, most of the time you know only the bride or the groom, perhaps both, and maybe one or two other guests. Otherwise, you're in a roomful of strangers charged with having a good time
and celebrating the choice of others to join their lives together. It's a mixed bag, to say the least.
I attended a wedding last weekend. My dear friend has made the choice to join her life and future with that of the man she loves. The wedding was in DC, so I flew out for the weekend and stayed with my best friend who lives in the area. She agreed to be my "date" for the wedding so that I would have someone to talk to (besides myself) during the festivities.
And festive it was. My friend is Indian. These women know how to do color. There were greens and pinks and oranges. There was turquoise and yellow. And there was gold. Gold thread, gold bangles, gold necklaces, gold earrings, gold Maang Tikka (hope I'm using the right term here) - the piece of jewelry that sits in the part of the hair and drops down onto the bride's forehead. This wedding was a feast for the eyes.
The ceremony was a mixture of Indian Orthodox Christian and American Lutheran. There were traditions from each religion included and a priest and a minister performed the ceremony together. The reception was also a mixture of cultures in both the food and the festivities. The guests who shared our table were delightful dinner companions from a variety of backgrounds. There was free-flowing and fascinating conversation and a great deal of laughter. When the time came to leave, I found myself wanting to stay.
In so many ways, this wedding was a celebration of inclusion. There were a bride and groom of different cultural backgrounds and different faiths. There were guests of different faiths and different backgrounds. Indian, American, Christian, Lutheran, Gay, Straight, Democrat, Republican, Old, Young - every conceivable 'opposite' that you can think of was represented in this gathering. And all were gathered for one purpose - to celebrate love.
Omnia vincit amor - the Roman poet Virgil is attributed with being the first to say it in his Eclogues written in 42 BC - Love conquers all. Since that time, the sentiment has been expressed over and over, in every language, by poets, screenwriters, novelists, and priests. It is easy to dismiss it as a Pollyanna-ish sentiment, something expressed by a pre-teen girl who dots her "i's" with hearts or butterflies. But last weekend, I saw it in action. And a beautiful sight it was.
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