I think we are entering a new era.
Mr. Chopstix and I were recently asked to stand in for the parents of the groom at a very multinational wedding.
We found this quite amusing as our own kids are nowhere near marrying age at 13 and under.
Rather shocking actually, to find ourselves walking down the aisle, having seats with the very decked out parents of the bride, and honored in a number of ways.
As we were eating, I was struck by the vast number of countries and continents represented at each table.
At our table: Sri Lanka, Ghana, Zambia, Norway/Germany and USA.
I met a girl in the bathroom who was half Eritrean and half Ethiopian but grew up in a third country. I danced with guests from UK, Nigeria, Burundi, Costa Rica and China.
In my language class yesterday we were discussing 门当户对, a phrase that means to be well matched in social and economic status.
I was asked if I agreed that this was an important quality in marriage, and I just laughed to myself as I considered this recent wedding as well as the number of cross-cultural and cross racial marriages of my friends, including my own parents and myself.
As I explained, I said of course if a couple is equally matched they have a lot more in common socially and culturally, but that to me most important is the question of common faith and beliefs affecting values surrounding marriage (which is also linked to values about money, child rearing, entertainment and more).
If a couple has a common foundation of faith in God, we have the promise that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.
So this wedding. Yum.
We ate tasty almond-paste coated fruit cakes handcarried in the suitcases from Sri Lanka–50 pounds worth. Little ceramic candle holders–also a staple from the bride’s country.
I remember when my Cuban/Puerto Rican friend’s son got married, and she traveled from Ohio to New York with suitcases and carry ons full of homemade Puerto Rican divine wonders for the wedding guests.
At our own wedding (*gasp* 18 years ago) we had kransekake, the traditional 18-ring wreath almond cake.
These traditions that we can carry into our new lives together form part of the new melded culture we are creating as we become a new and unique family unit.
It’s been a long time since I had that cake, but we are constantly weaving new traditions with the old as expats living in China.