Now that we've left Egypt, I feel a need to record what we did there so when we look back on our time we'll remember it wasn't all homeschool and sleeping. I'll continue to post to this blog until I catch up to the time we left Cairo in June 2010. Our new blog will pick up from that time forward.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coptic Christian Wedding

Todd and I were invited to attend a few weddings of his co-workers. They were all a lot of fun. We attended some weddings of Muslims who weren't as conservative. Those were usually held in big ball rooms in hotels. There was usually lots of amazing food, loud music, lots of dancing, and professional photography with video recorders on huge cranes to span the entire crowd. The weddings usually didn't start till 10 or 11 at night and they'd go all night. At least that's what we heard. We were usually home in bed long before the parties ended.

We were able to attend a wedding of a more conservative couple too. It happened to be outdoor at a beautiful country club type place. The only thing different with that wedding was that it didn't have the dancing. It also started in the late afternoon which caused us to miss out on the great food.

That story is we were promised by the bride that it would start promptly at like 3:00. (I can't remember the time it was supposed to start.) The culture in Egypt is that time really has no meaning. You start a party when it's ready to start. Times printed on an invitation really mean nothing. But this bride, who worked with Todd, was adamant that this wouldn't be "typical." It would start right on time.

We found the location quicker than we expected so we had about 45 minutes or more to wander the grounds before the wedding. As the wedding time approached, we made our way to a table and wondered why there were so many chairs and tables but so few people. We began to worry for the bride because this wedding was scheduled on the same day as a World Cup game that Egypt was playing in. The wedding date was scheduled long before the World Cup game. We thought maybe everyone decided to skip the wedding to watch the game even though the wedding technically should be over before the game started.

We sat down, made small talk with some of the bride's family who was there and a few guests that started trickling in . Sure enough, it was like 2 hours after the scheduled time before the wedding finally started. We'd left Petey at a friends house. We saw the couple make their grand entrance and we gave them our best wishes. Then just as they were starting to serve the food, Petey called and said her friends needed to leave so we needed to come pick her up. Todd is still bitter that he never got to try out the great food at that wedding. We heard later from the bride that most people left right after the food so they could get to a TV to watch the game.

Another kind of wedding we attended was a Coptic Christian wedding. The following pictures are from that wedding.

This is the Coptic church where the wedding was held. Inside it had two levels--a main level and a balcony. Both levels were full. It was interesting that through the whole ceremony, people were getting up and walking to the front to get a better angle for pictures, people were talking, they were standing up and sitting down. Generally most people were quiet and were paying attention to what was happening but it didn't seem to be rude to talk or walk around during the ceremony. This picture was taken just after the wedding.

A picture of the couple posing for the crowd.

There were different parts of the wedding ceremony. Several people spoke but in a language I didn't understand so I'm not sure what was being said. But this guy with the microphone was a constant through the entire ceremony. He was constantly "singing" in the foreign language with no accompaniment. It was a cross between a recitation of something and singing a song that seemed to have no end.