Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding Weekend! (Not Mine of Course!)

This weekend was a whirlwind of wedding activity, but most of it had nothing to do with my wedding. This weekend was Ritha's wedding. I met Ritha this past year and got to know her very well when she lived with Landry and I for about six months. Ritha is from the Congo and so her wedding had a lot of very traditional components. Despite having lived in Africa for a period of time, I've never really seen the cultural side of an African wedding play out and it was definitely a unique experience. I think what was so breathtaking about the cultural ceremony on Friday night was the incredible diversity and the feeling of family despite very few of the participants actually being related at all. This was a traditional Congolese wedding ceremony being held in a North Philadelphia home where an Irish immigrant and an African American woman gave away their Congolese daughter for marriage. They stood united as a family and the Irishman was as protective of his African daughter as any father would be on the day of his daughter's marriage. It just really solidified the idea that family is exactly what you make of it.

Saturday was a whirlwind of hair, make-up, dresses, pictures, eating, drinking and laughing. The wedding started about 45 minutes late....not totally unexpected. And the reception didn't get underway until well after 10pm. Surrounded by African music, French speaking people, and traditional, colorful wedding garments I felt for part of the night as though I was actually in the Congo. It was a welcomed escape from the craziness of my life right now. Ritha and Freddy looked very happy together and I was really honored that they asked me to be a part of their special day.

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