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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Old Time Wedding In Jamaica

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Old time wedding consisted of the planning sometimes by everyone in the district or village.Largely
the ceremony included cooking great amounts of food for the reception and the baking of several cakes. On the wedding day, the cakes were carried to the wedding location by a procession of married women wearing white dresses and head-ties. No one spoke during this solemn procession, and the cakes themselves were covered by white lace so that the bride did not see them until the day of the wedding. My granny could bake one of these tower like cakes. (of course it was usually fruit cake).

For those who could afford it ...and it was done in a church. Usually done in European tradition.

The reception was held at the groom’s house in a booth that was built specifically for the event. Usually constructed of coconut boughs and decorated with flowers, the booth was an extension of the home. Usually, the reception followed a standard order, including the cutting of the cake, the toasting of the couple, the eating of a lot of delicious food and a great deal of dancing. The reception usually lasted until the afternoon, with the attendants playing games and singing songs.

It didn’t end there, though. On the Sunday after the wedding, known as Tun T’anks Sunday, the wedding party went to church. After services, the assembly then visited the bride’s parents’ home for a second reception, usually even bigger than the first party. More food and cakes were served. The top layer of the cake was given to the minister who performed the ceremony, and the second layer went to the newlywed couple.(and in the fridge for years).The newly-weds and their godparents and the entire wedding party would attend service at the church where the wedding occurred and thank God (return thanks) for their marriage. The 'wedden godmadda' then took the bride's right hand, and the "wedden godfadda," the groom's, and they completed what Miss Lou termed their final duty by saying in unison, "We hand you over to one another, go and live like Isaac and Rebecca."

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Throughout the evening, other traditions were followed. Participants bid on the bride and groom, with the collected sum then given to the bride. The end of the evening was highlighted by a dance, usually played by a fife, banjo and guitar. Quadrille was the common dance, with one of the sets composed of family members including the bride, the groom, their parents, the maid of honor and the best man.

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