I was at a wedding last Saturday, and thinking "why is this couple getting married?" I was only a part of the choir that provided the music at the 'ceremony' so I wasn't known to them and don't have the real answer to this question. Maybe even the newly-weds themselves don't have the answer. See, there were ten people on the bride-grooms 'side' of the church and four on the bride's. I'm not saying there need be a huge congregation at a wedding, but the number of the congregation was noticeable because of the looks on the faces of each and every one. Not happy.
The boy was obviously from a Dutch-descendant family. His mother was white and looked like one of those dumb fair-skinned women who think they're still the shit. (Ok, maybe Dutch was the shit in this country; centuries ago, but not anymore.) The rest of the family probably thought the same. The thing that read the gospel at the altar (presumably a relative of the groom) was dressed in a piece of cloth which reached as low as six to eight inches below her crotch. A bloody disgrace I think. So that's the boy's family, and they are not happy. You wouldn't have had to look far to figure out why.
The girl is probably very smart or very talented or both, but she also probably is originally from a rural area. Her father wears the national costume, and her mother an osari; both faded and probably quite old although it's their daughters wedding. They're dark-skinned from working in the sun, and probably very simple. They are also nervous about stepping across the altar to the back of the church to sign the registrations.
So during the registration we (the 'professional' choir) turn to face each other and build the love-story. The girl either because she passes A/Ls with flying colors or through an influential person known to her managed to secure a job in Colombo. She meets the boy. Boy decides girl is good, so they have something. Then they want to get married. Or does the girl get pregnant? But nobody likes it. Either way they end up doing the thing. And we were called in to sing some decency into the whole affair (ha ha yeah right!)
This is obviously the first time that the pastor has seen them, and his homily is addressed to the world in general and applicable to anybody; even somebody who's not getting married. Honestly. The boy watches him intently while the girl smiles self-consciously at the camera which the photographer is aiming at her. The homily is nothing and the whole evening is about her classless dress with pink sequins, her tasteless makeup which hides the face behind a mask of pancake, and the bloody photographer. At some point though, she begins to sweat and daintily wipe her face with a tissue which she hides behind her bouquet. I am fifteen feet away from her but can see the color of the paper change from white to cream-brown. The she begins to wipe her eyes vigorously. At this point the boy gets annoyed and turns to look at her. He gets terribly worried and goes red around the eyes and nose. She's crying. So the homily ends. The choir performs the next hymn and that's about the end of that. The two hurry out of the church and the congregation follows them, straight to their vehicles and presumably homes.
The experience left me wondering what's wrong with our people. All these bloody traditions and meaningless ritualistic habits of ours are what make us a dead and boring nation. If the families aren't happy about the wedding, invite friends. If even friends aren't happy, don't have a wedding. Get a house, register and spend the money on the kids' education or something.
Aiyo! And my research paper is waiting… :(