The worst customs at Croatian weddings
By: Marko Primožić
Weddings are occasions on which, at least in my opinion, people of any nation show their best and worst. Generally speaking, there are many good customs at Croatian weddings, but somehow the bad ones can significantly overshadow the good ones. They are eyesores in what is supposed to be a celebration of love and cannot in any way be connected with the decision that two young people made to perpetuate their love. Here is a list of just a few of them (they are listed chronologically as they happen as the wedding proceeds, not by the level of disgustingness/nonsense):
The first thing whose concept is not understandable to me is not only a Croatian custom, but every nation’s custom, and it happens a few weeks before the wedding ceremony. The bachelor party. What is the point in having a party with only boys involved? The only rational argument that can come to mind would be so that the guys can do things they wouldn’t do in front of the girls. But the problem is I can’t think of even one example of such a thing. Maybe drinking enormous amounts of alcohol without being criticized by girlfriends? No, because, let’s be honest, the majority of them don’t give a s**t about it, because, you know, this is the first and only time your friend is getting married and you can do whatever you want (what a reason!!). On the other hand, the minority who actually care about it would do it anyway, pretty much because of the same reason (the only difference is that this kind of boy would be sorry about it the next day). Maybe the reason for the boys-only-party would be to be able to behave as foolishly as you want? I don’t think so, since they also do it at parties when girls are involved. Maybe because they want to rent a stripper. Still a poor argument, because your fiancé would found out about it sooner or later.
Still, even though I can somehow accept the necessity of a bachelor party as an only-boys-are-allowed-to-come-party because it is a tradition and you are not supposed to analyse its reasons, what about bachelor parties joined with bachelorette parties? By doing this, the whole concept is crushed and it doesn’t make any sense at all.
Congratulating the parents
The second fact I want to discuss happens immediately after two young people say Yes. After the wedding ceremony is finished the crowd comes to the newlywed husband and wife and congratulates them. But what really irritates me is that they also congratulate their parents. Now, I would like someone to explain to me why on earth the parents are getting credit for it. Maybe because they gave birth to them, but that is something that you congratulated them for a long time ago, when they were actually born. It’s not like the parents went from house to house looking for their son’s/daughter’s wife/ husband. It was purely their children’s decision and the parents have nothing to do with it. And if they did, that’s even worse, because obviously they persuaded them to marry someone and that is not something to congratulate them for. I understand the custom is left over from the times when parents were actually partly in charge of finding a spouse for their children, but come on, we are in the 21st century now, not the 15th. Times have changed.
Waving the national flag and honking during a parade
Waving a Croatian flag while you are driving from the church or courthouse to the restaurant where the wedding reception is taking place is also at the top of my nonsense list. Again, my mind can’t see the connection between two young people loving each other and a Croatian flag. As the name says, the national flag represent the nation, and is held when you achieve something in the name of your country. And what is achieved in the name of the nation during a wedding ceremony? Yes, I agree, nothing. So please stop the prostitution of the Croatian flag.
Another thing that bothers me during the parade from the church to the restaurant is the constant honking. Ok, it is a special day for the bride and the groom, and also a special day for their families and friends, but is it for the rest of the world? They just want to live their usual lives, and really don’t care at all about the wedding of two out of 6 billion people they don’t know/strangers. Perhaps the intention of honking is to make others happy because of the wedding, but by honking all the time, you just make them nervous and angry. So please, next time, don’t be a bumpkin. Be happy and share it with your friends but leave others alone.
The way presents are given
The last custom I don’t like is how presents are given. At the majority of weddings I have gone/been to, the procedure is that at some point in the night an announcement is made asking people to form a queue to hand presents to the bride and the groom. Consequently, people form a queue they stand in waving around envelopes full of money. Obviously not everyone thinks this, but to me that custom seems inelegant, not to say heinous. It looks like people are just about to bet on some sports match or like they want to show how much money they have. Wouldn’t it be more elegant to just have one bag in the corner where people can/would insert their envelopes whenever they want?
Not only does the way presents are given bother me, but the way greeting cards are written does too. You usually put money inside the envelope and the signed the greeting card. Personally, I think unsigned cards are much more polite. In Croatia (and I believe in many other countries) cards are singed so that the bride and groom know how much money they should give you when you will be getting married. But it shouldn’t be like that. The present is given to show your appreciation and love. And everyone will give as much as they can afford. Of course, with unsigned envelopes you leave space for receiving empty ones. If someone wants to do it, go ahead, it will be to your disgrace.