Sunday, November 13

Rites of passage...

Arnold van Gennep, a flemish anthropologist and ethnologist wrote a book called "Les rites de passage" in which he talks about transitions and the rites people perform with them. Transitions can either be spatial (house warming parties), seasonal (e.g. harvest festivals) or "life cyclical" (birth, death, marriage) and the whole idea is a "universal" - e.g. can be found in many different cultures around the whole world. Almost everywhere life is characterised by turning points, we don't experience it like a calm flow of days after days after days.

Now why do people perform rituals at these turning points in their lifes? Because these transitions don't come naturally, they don't just happen. You're not born as an adult, as a couple or whatever - you're made one and through the ritual this is made more real for the individual.

And it's true. Really.
When I got married in September, it was actually two days that we celebrated. One day was a very quiet one. The contract was signed with a registrar who came into the home of my husbands family and the only people who celebrated with the two of us were his closest friends and family. We had a nice meal, fotos were taken etc. Then, a few days later, we had a big party with lots of friends in Tunis, where he's living now...and only then, after an exhausting evening, with lots of music and dancing as well as changing my robe twice, did I really "feel" married.

I wonder how it will be when we've celebrated our party here in Austria with all my friends and family as well...but alas, there are still some bureaucratic hurdles to jump...until he can join me here.

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