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Inter Cultural Event

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Essay title: Inter Cultural Event

1) Describe the event, its purpose, the cultural group originating the event, and how you learned of the event.

Believe it or not,(like everything else I’ve written about in this course) my cultural event was Italian/American in nature. The event in question was the marriage of an American groom and an Italian bride. The bride’s family consisted, in large part, of grandparents and older relatives that had been born and raised in Italy. Obviously the younger relatives were primarily second and third generation Italians as well. The groom and his family, on the other hand, were American mutts. Their cultural background was extremely diluted, consisting of a multitude of cultural circumstances. Seeing as the American groom (Richard) proposed, I suppose the origin of the event could be considered American, although without the consent of the Italian bride

(Tessa), there would be no wedding, so let’s call it Italian/American in origin. My wife and I were invited to attend the wedding by her great-aunt, who comes from the Italian side of the union.

2) What element(s), if any, is/are similar in your culture?

For the most part the wedding was just like any other American wedding. During the ceremony a couple of symbolic and superstitious traditions similar to American traditions were performed. First, whereas in American culture superstition dictates that the bride must have “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, the Italian groom carried a piece of metal in his suit pocket to ward off evil eyes. I found the second action, one of symbolic nature, a bit odd. In American culture, couples frequently light unity candles to symbolize their lifetime union of happiness. The symbolic gesture in this wedding was a bit different though. The newly married couple smashed a vase, with the remaining pieces representing the number of years the couple is expected to be happily married. I found this act kind of strange. Suppose the vase only broke into two or three pieces (it didn’t, it shattered into hundreds). Such an occurrence would seem certain to dampen the enthusiasm for a superstitious couple. Aside from a couple of exceptions, the rest of the wedding was similar to any other wedding, with a buffet of food, cash bar, and a D.J. spinning records (or cd’s, as the case may be).

3) What did you see and experience at this event that made you feel confident you understood accurately?

My wife and I have couple of reoccurring issues in our marriage. The first relates to how we argue and express our views. She continually tells me that during a disagreement, Italians naturally become very passionate and vocal, but can quickly change course afterwards and seemingly forget all the hostility immediately. Like the groom, I am a cultural mutt, so this was weird for me. During the reception I saw something that helped me understand. A grandmother and elderly aunt of the bride got into a heated discussion regarding some minor issue with the food. Their hands began flying and the Italian curses (or so it sounded) began bouncing off the walls. After about two minutes, another relative intervened and the issue was settled. Had I not had my wife’s words echoing in my head, I might have been surprised to see, not five minutes later, the two women chatting over their meals as if nothing had ever happened. The second issue has to with passion and expression of that passion. Whereas I am pretty stoic and reserved, my wife is a fountain of emotions and expression. “It is in my blood, I can’t help it!” my wife frequently tells me. After watching the unbridled, even for a wedding, display of passion at the wedding I can believe it is in the Italian blood. Every greeting and introduction was accompanied by kisses on the cheeks, even between men, as well as frequent tears and bone crunching hugs. Although I am obviously generalizing, the American greetings tended to be reserved, while the Italian greetings can be likened to the reunion of long lost relatives.

4) What did you see that was culturally puzzling to you?

The only thing I found culturally puzzling was the almost unconcealed requests for money. As a general rule in American weddings, the wedding

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