Thursday, July 05, 2007

Know Your Jewish Community: Wedding Shtick

I'm actually not so sure about the origins of this one. I'm pretty sure that wedding shtick has its basis in the mitzvah to make a bride happy on her wedding day. The actual language is to "mesameach" the bride, which I think translates to "enhappy."

In the name of "enhappying" the bride (and groom) their friends dress up/ do foolish things, usually inside joke related. This also serves the purpose of letting the bride and groom sit down in between sessions of dancing, which are usually pretty athletic. Especially considering that the bride and groom have been fasting until about 5 minutes before dancing starts.

At any rate, I've seen some bizarre things, including guys dressed up as food (I think Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but the costumes were pretty bad, so: unclear), girls carrying those molecular models you get in chemistry class (the bride is a chem PhD), and a bridesmaid that looked like a matador. Oh wait, her dress was just unfortunate, it wasn't part of the "bull and bullfighter" dance that is prevalent, and incongruous (you know, the one where one person waves a napkin, and the other runs towards it with fingers on their head like horns?).

This video has an example of the bullfighter about 10 seconds in.

Instead of dancing, you could wave flaming nunchucks, like this guy. Also, if you look at the comments below, I like how one of the commenters seems to believe that flaming nunchucks are traditional at a Jewish wedding, saying "I wanna go to an Orthodox wedding, so fun." To which someone responded: "yeah they r fun, at my sisters wedding some guys put their black hats on fire (old ones ofcourse) and they juggles fire and knives 2." Really? Flaming hats? Clearly I'm attending the wrong type of weddings.

Now, like many Jewish traditions, this one has been co-opted by the guys. What seems pretty clearly to be a mitvah for the benefit of the bride is often in practice a bunch of guys doing silly things, often an inside joke with the groom.

Like these guys with their "Riverdance." Not that it isn't funny, but after googling "Wedding Shtick" I only came up with male entries. This could be, in part, because shtick often involves singing and/or dancing, which can be religiously problematic if done by women (in front of men).

More guys dancing.

For my own (hypothetical) personal wedding, I expect the girls to bring the game. For serious yo. I'm talking to you, roommate. And my wedding can totally be an "arts and crafts project."


Anonymous said...

actually its in reality the girls who rule in the "wedding shtick" department and most weddings.

from the infamous walk-in arches (an obligatory mitzvah, done by women only) to the "come back kallah" sings, the ribboned umbrellas, the soda bottles dressed up like bride and groom, oak tag signage and all the other nonesense.

The Pedant said...

I was going to walk down the aisle with my bride under an arch of drawn swords, but then I remembered that I am neither in the Marines nor a Baroque-era monarch. So that's out.

Also, good-looking swords are like $300 a pop. It would be at least three grand to have an arch, before epaulette costs.

Annie said...

Anon- I have no idea what a "come back kallah" sing is, or why one would have a ribboned umbrella. Really no clue.

Pedant- good lord. Thank G-d she agreed to marry you because I don't know that anyone else would.

SaraK said...

You've never seen those ribboned umbrella/maypole things at an Orthodox wedding? I think they have one at every single wedding I go to. I do NOT want one at my wedding. Nor do I want any shtick that involves fire. I usually see shtick related to the bride/groom's field of study/occupation. Random life size animals are pretty popular too. At my brother's wedding there were a lot of inside jokes, which was very cute. And my brother's friends also dressed up as the entire cast of The Wizard of Oz - it was pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

I accept you challenge.

Although I have been to a whole bunch of orthodox weddings, and I too have no idea what a "ribboned umbrella" is. I can try and arts-and-crafts one though.

-the roommate

Annie said...

Sara- what's the deal with the umbrellas? The roommate and I have never seen them. Also, fire and my immediate family sounds like a poor idea, so I support you in that.

Roommate- no umbrella, arts and crafts anything else you want. Including the apparently obligatory walk-in arch.