So, last Sunday night it was really nice and cool out and we slept with our windows open. Well, Super Dad and I were awoken to some major hoopin' and hollerin' out side. People were clapping and cheering and having so much fun in our next door neighbor's back yard. We have met our neighbor several times, but really only know him from the "hey! how are you?" standing in our driveway type thing. Anyway, both Super Dad and I were so out of it being awoken from our deep sleep that the next morning I wasn't really sure it had all happened!
As the week progressed we would see more and more cars over at their house. Then one day I noticed a bunch of beautiful women sitting around the garage and preparing huge cases of vegetables, cleaning carrots and what not. (I'm a nosey neighbor, I was dying to know what was going on). I had pretty much decided that either someone was getting married or this was some sort of big holiday for their culture. I wasn't really sure what their culture was, but I knew they weren't good ole' southerners!
By mid week we received a note along with our other neighbors just asking us to please be understanding of the extra cars in the street this week because they were getting married this weekend and had lots of out of town company. So now nosey nellie knew what was up and I was excited because our neighbor seems like a really sweet guy.
Last night when we were getting home from dinner the streets were full of cars, so much that I had to wait for someone to move so I could pull in my driveway. For the first time this week I finally saw our sweet neighbor so I rolled my window down to congratulate him and he told me that his family was there doing wedding preperations and that he had lots of family in town from Ethiopia, how amazingly cool is that!! The women at his house were all busy busy making some beautiful flower arrangments.
Well, this morning the kiddos and I were upstairs getting ready for the day and I start hearing all this clapping and chanting again. I look out the window and their is a parade of 60 or more people coming down my street chanting and clapping, the men in suits and the women in these beautiful, gauzy dresses with gorgeous bead work on them! I grabbed the kids and hollered at Super Dad to come outside, I didn't care if they saw me, I had to see this!! How cool!
So Sass is on my hip and we are just in awe watching the festivities when the groom's sister comes over and takes me by hand and tells me to come and watch, that I couldn't miss the experience. Boy was she right! Bubbie wouldn't go because the men were very loud and he was a little nervous, so he and Super Dad watched from the driveway, but Sass and I went and it was amazing!
First as we are standing in the driveway, all the men are at the door with the groom beating on the front door. His sister tells me that this is tradition in Ethiopia, that the man has to fight to get in to see his bride, so on the other side of the door are all the bridesmaids and her family and every time he cracks the door open, they would slam it back shut!! She said this was to teach him to resist temptation! Then she grabs me by the hand and sneaks Sass and I through the garage, into the kitchen, past tons of family, all the way up until we are 5 feet from this gorgeous bride. The bride and her parents are sitting on the couch waiting on the groom. She tells me that in Ethiopia the man literally has to break the door down, but eventually they just let our sweet neighbor in! But then he had to work his way through this massive crowd and they were all chanting and singing and clapping. It was so loud and so cool and Sass and I watched in complete amazement.
He finally made his way to his bride and here is the best part. He hands her a bouquet of roses, then gets down on his knees and kisses her feet! Can you believe it??I just about died! Then he lifted her veil and gave her a kiss... this all meant it was time for him to take her to the church to be wed. Music was blaring at this point and everyone was celebrating. I graciously thanked his sister and snuck out because these people had a wedding to get to!
I am so thankful for getting to see such an incredible ritual to marriage. It was such a cool thing! I came home and my heart was racing with excitement as I filled Super Dad in to all the details of what I had just witnessed. I just wish I could have gotten atleast one picture. I can't even begin to describe what beautiful, kind people I met today. They did not see us as an intruder to their special day at all, but instead were so proud to share the heritage and tradition with us. I am blessed to have seen something so amazing!
When we got back home Sass ran right up to Super Dad and said " I saw the bwide... I saw the WHOLE thing daddy!". It was priceless!
Now I'm just wondering what will be instore for us tonight when the wedding is over and the celebrations are going strong.......