|A bride paraded around in a suburb of Beirut|
I have never really seen this in Holland; the parading around of a bride. It is quite common here in Lebanon. If I were an anthropologist, I could probably attach some ancient custom to it. Maybe the tradition can be traced back to ancient times, when obtaining a bride was not that easy. Prospective wives had to be ‘stolen’ from the opposite camp, and thus – when you finally got one - were to be paraded around town as a proof of victory? I am not sure. Maybe I am looking at it too negatively from the man’s point of view. It could be that it is related to the fact that women in this region are not really (in general) considered full members of society until they are mothers? So maybe this is her first step towards that goal, and she is showing everyone that she is on her way? Maybe ‘full members of society’ is too harsh, but until you are married and with kids, people will always ask you “so when are you going to get married?”, and when you are married, “so when are you going to have children?” And if you get only girls, you still might get a remark or two about when you are going to get a boy. I am sure some readers will say “that’s how it used to be, it is no longer like that.” No, not in the affluent classes. That is true. But religion does not matter either among the affluent classes. But what percentage of his country is affluent? Not more than 10%, is my guess.
|How does she keep that veil on?|
Anyway, I ran into this happy bride last week. To me this picture also displays innocence. Girls in this country, and probably all over the world, still are raised in a Cinderella mode, i.e. once you have married your prince, all your troubles are over and you will live happily ever after. What a thought. It is probably one of the hardest jobs in the universe, I’d say. Getting married is easy, it is staying married that is the tough part. I am in my 21st year of marriage, and I can say that the past 10 years have been smooth sailing. You do the math. That’s not a bad score. And my husband is a nice guy. Most people don’t make it that far. And I have a fantastic set of in-laws! That’s an added bonus, I hear, from those who have experienced otherwise. And so when I see a happy bride on her wedding day, with a smile that shows that all her troubles are over, it makes me think of innocence. How little does she know. Wisdom will come with age.