Life in Poland

A Wedding on August 15, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw (1920)…

Why Do Our Friends Hate Us?
No, no, I’m just joking. We were honored to be invited to share this important event with our friends and the wedding was lovely. The bride looked gorgeous, just perfect. The usually casually dressed groom looked fine in his elegant 3-piece suite and bow tie. It’s just that somebody forgot to tell the priest that weddings are festive occasions.
I’ve been to quite a few weddings and this one was the most unusual to date. Most wedding ceremonies have been about new beginnings, fresh starts, long lives spent together, ups and downs on the way. Positive, positive, positive.
This one was a little bit different.
First, the wedding took place on an important holiday in the Catholic church, Mary’s Assumption into heaven. It could not go without comment or without 20 minutes of rambling commentary if you’d like the less generous (but more honest) opinion. August 15 also marks the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw which should not go without mention or incomprehensible rambling. What do these two events have in common with each other or have in common with weddings?
Surprised? We were too.
I didn’t know it was possible to use the word death so many times in a wedding ceremony. It’s like the scene in Friends when Monika didn’t get invited to her cousin’s wedding but her brother Ross did so he takes her as his plus one. As she scopes out the other guests at their table she says, “I’m a relative and I didn’t get invited! A blood relative! Blood!” To which her brother Ross says, “Stop saying, ‘Blood’ to strangers.”
OK, I lied. There was something about new beginnings – how death is in fact your new beginning in the afterlife. Awesome.
If the wedding ceremony was black and white (and long and monotonous), then the wedding reception was a splash of color and life.The wedding reception was typically Polish, lots of food, alcohol, dancing and fun. I am American, it is true but occasionally, I feel moderately Polish. Weddings are not that occasion. That’s when I feel maximum American. First of all, I am not much of a drinker. Secondly, I cannot dance. Thirdly, I don’t like flaki or golonka. And lastly, I only know the first verse of Sto Lat.
The bride and groom had a blast as did their guests. They are both only children so the parents and families really lived it up and danced till dawn. We busted out about 2 a.m. My feet are killing me today.
I did dance bo wypada. I had to choose my dances carefully as the repertoire was heavy on the disco polo. Ona tancy dla mnie, anyboy?
It was just nice to see two people enjoy themselves entirely and share such a memorable moment in their lives.

To the mloda para!

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  • Reply
    August 19, 2014 at 1:50 am

    August 15 1945 was the day when Emperor Hirohito announced surrender of Japan after Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing, so I guess it could have been worse..

  • Reply
    August 19, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Oh jeez, you're right, but it would have been in keeping with the theme. I did however like the moment when we prayed for a wise government to make smart decisions and for apartments for young couples to make an independent start. I also liked all the tourists who stopped in to watch the ceremony.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    I'm impressed. I don't think I could survive polish wedding:)

  • Reply
    Linda C. Wisniewski
    August 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I didn't have a Polish wedding, though I and my husband are both Polish American. No Polish priest, either. But I can relate to the morbid fascination with death and suffering. Seems to be an ethnic thing in my experience. Party hearty for tomorrow the Cossacks are coming?

  • Reply
    August 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    They certainly did party like there was no tomorrow. Both bride and groom are only children so the families went crazy. Or maybe it was a reaction to all the death talk

  • Reply
    February 15, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I think most of us Catholics have a weird relationship with death. Mostly because we think the whole point of this life is what happens after we die, and we are always trying to be ready to die because it can come at any moment. That doesn't mean we can't have a good time, but who says death can't be involved. Most Catholic weddings I have been to definitely talk about death. We are obsessed with life leading to life after death, but that death thing is a significant moment because it is the doorway between imperfect life here and perfect life in eternity. Just my 2 cents.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I think everybody has a weird relationship with death. I was raised Catholic and I have been to quite a lot of weddings in the States and in Poland and none of them had as much mention of death as this one. I think even among Polish Catholic weddings, this one was over the top.I think about death, mine and others, quite regularly. I'm not counting on any life after death, so that's why every thought of death and every death in my family profoundly informs how I live my life.

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