"Love is blind, but marriage restores its sight."
Her name is Anne M. Merrill
I have made some research online as to find some wedding stories in Moldova. The first one I loved comes from a blogger who served as Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova some years ago.
This kind of stories I want to hear from you.
"A Modern Traditional Wedding"
Autumn is the season for weddings in Moldova, and that season is in full swing. My host brother Sasha recently attended two weddings in one weekend, which is a feat rivaling an Olympic event, requiring about as much strength, endurance and recovery time. :-)
The first wedding was in Chisinau, the second here in Tvarditsa. He shared some of his photos with me from the Tvarditsa wedding, and I will post them to Flickr.
A typical wedding celebration in Moldova can last a good 12 to 14 hours, and has many various components. The legal ceremony is separate from the religious ceremony, and a couple must register with the village Primaria (City hall) . A small ceremony takes place there when the bride and groom sign the marriage certificate and become legally married (see pictures from Alyona’s wedding in February). The couple may have a religious ceremony, as well, which is by and for the church only (unlike in the U.S., where a service performed by a priest or minister can fulfill the legal requirements as well, as long as the proper forms are filed with the marriage licensing office).
Instead of a Maid of Honor and a Best Man, an engaged couple here will ask a married couple to “sponsor” them. The title actually translates to something like godparents, and in many respects these godparents fulfill a similar role as a baby’s godparents at baptism; they promise to guide the couple in their Christian marriage.
After the ceremony, a couple will visit a memorial and places flowers at the base. Often they visit a World War II memorial. In Chisinau, it is now popular to visit the centrally-located statue of Stefan cel Mare (Steven the Great), a Romanian warrior king from the Middle Ages. On a typical Autumn weekend, there is a line of wedding parties waiting their turn to place their flowers and have their photos taken at the statue. By Sunday night, it looks like a flower market! You can also hear the wedding parties driving throughout town all weekend, honking their horns.
The wedding Sasha attended in Tvarditsa had many of the same components. After the ceremony, the couple walked to the nearby WWII memorial to lay their flowers. Instead of touring the village by car, though, they opted for the more traditional horse-and-buggy, decked out in colorful hand-woven blankets and festive ribbons and balloons. My favorite photo is of the bride sitting in the buggy talking on her cell phone!
The real festivities start with the dinner and party. A Moldovan “masa” or celebration meal follows a usually pattern, no matter what the occasion – wedding, birthday, baptism, New Year’s Eve, etc. Long tables are set with so much food there usually isn’t enough room for guests’ plates. Bowls and plates of salads, meat, cold cuts, meat, bread, meat, vegetables, meat and fish will be placed about every two feet, more or less down the center of the table. Bottles of wine, champagne and cognac are intermixed. Sometimes there are serving utensils in the bowls, but more than often not. Guests serve themselves, usually taking a little bit from one or two dishes at a time. Each guest will have a small plate about 6 inches in diameter. These seem to be the only size of plates anyone every uses here for meals. After an hour or two of eating and drinking, if there were serving utensils, no one bothers to use them anymore; they just use their own forks and spoons and sometimes by then they even dispense with the “middleman” of their own plate and eat right out of the serving bowl. Most Americans have a hard time with this at first, but eventually you get used to it. As an aside, a visit to the Tvarditsa museum gave me some insight into this custom. In the museum is an example of an historical Moldovan villager’s kitchen, which included a small round table, about 2 feet or so off the ground, surrounded by small stools. In the center of the table sat a huge ceramic bowl. Even into the mid-20th century, many families ate sitting at one such small table and everyone ate out of the one large bowl. Babushka jokes that it saved a lot of time on dishwashing. :-) Although the dinner table is different these days, some cultural norms have continued, and it is perfectly acceptable to stick your spoon into the salad, and no will mind if you double-dip!
Of course, at parties the drink flows. Here in Tvarditsa, it is more common to drink a glass of wine relatively slowly, maybe in 3 or 4 swigs, but I’m told in other parts of Moldova it’s more common to drink an 8-oz glass in one shot for a toast. They don’t drink out of stemmed goblets, but instead, in what I think is a rather economical brainstorm, most beverages are drunk out of a standard style and size of glassware.
Cognac and other hard liquors (which are often all generically called “vodka”) are drunk by the 50- or 100-gram shot, though, even here in Tvarditsa.
After the eating and drinking comes the dancing. I like PCV Peter Myer’s observation: “I must say that it’s nice to dance in a country where everyone’s white and there aren’t any really good dancers.” Almost all dances involve a variation on a theme – stand in a circle, hold hands with your neighbors at about shoulder level, and follow a basic step dancing in a circle. The more skilled dancers can do this pretty damn fast and fancy, but the average Joe (or Iosef) opts for the simpler version. The free-form dancing is a blast to watch, and I always find myself thinking “You go, white boy!” I will never forget the New Year’s Eve party at the Primaria, with the short, pudgy Primar pumping his arms and shuffling his feet. Sadly, I am such a bad dancer, I am not able to master even the simplest dances here.
The eating, drinking and dancing will continue long past the wee hours. Sasha came home from the wedding at 4:00 am, and I suspect he probably was one of the first to leave because he had to catch the 6:00 am bus to get back to Chisinau and go to work (poor guy!).
A Moldovan wedding not only takes a toll on your sleep, it takes a chunk out of your wallet. Sasha spent 1/6 of his monthly salary on the two weddings. A basket will be passed numerous times during the party to collect money for the newlyweds, and that’s a contribution in addition to the gift you bought them. It can all really add up. In fact, when Sasha was invited to another wedding the next weekend, he decided to pass. You really can have too much of a good thing!