The most recent ritual that I have observed is a wedding. The wedding took place in an old church and was for the marriage of the daughter of a family friend. There was about a 100 people, all related to and friends to the families of those getting married, in total gathering in the church, and all were dressed formally with the men in suits and women in dresses. Everyone is happy and talkative as they know this is a big day for the soon to be married couple. There is a piano being played as the guests, meet up with relatives and make acquaintance to people related to the other family, and begin to take their seats in the pews. There are flowers everywhere and the interior has a fancy atmosphere, and it feels like no expenses were spared for this joyous ceremony. Once the ceremony begins, the music from the piano changes to the traditional “Here comes the bride” as the bride is escorted to the front by her father, where she meets up with her soon the be husband. They walk down the middle aisle that is covered in flower petals laid down by two little girls related to the bride. The ceremony was conducted by a minister who makes the marriage between the bride and groom official. During this, the bride and groom have bridesmaids and groomsmen standing up front with them. These are their close relatives or best friends that were picked to be up front with them during the ceremony. Both the bride and groom say their vows to each other, and the groom places the ring on the bride’s finger. After the ceremony a reception took place with an abundance of food, a tiered cake, and music with a dance floor.
The music played at the beginning is just for a relaxing, happy atmosphere, while the “Here comes the bride” on the piano signals for the people seated to turn around to watch the bride walk down the aisle, thus beginning the ritual. The point of this ritual is to further strengthen the bond between two partners, and to be legally recognized as married. The families of each partner are brought closer together as they can now consider one another family, and gain the term “in-law”. Typically, weddings have a form of ritual within, one of which is for the groom to not see the bride in the wedding dress until the ceremony because it is seen as bad luck. A marriage is considered a rite of passage because the couple goes from being in a basic relationship to having their relationship bound by law, and will be together till death. Within a wedding, there are many signs of rites of deference. One example of this is when everyone in the room stands and watches the bride walk down the aisle. Another case of this is when the newly married couple get the dance floor to themselves for the first dance. A wedding is a common ritual performed throughout the world, yet the way it is performed differs from one culture to another.