Met ElFabre got married on Sat. He’s one of the guys here at Canaan that’s in the local administrative position. He’s been engaged since before I came (over a year ago) but he kept saying a woman wants a guy to be able to give her a nice home, and things, before he can marry her. He’s been building his house over this year.
So the wedding was set for 3 o’clock. One of my questions was, knowing that punctuality, or rather the lack of it, is a sure thing, at what time this wedding would actually begin. Knowing it would be late, I didn’t even plan to be ready before 3:30. Even then, I’d see everybody still walking around in work clothes. And if asked if they were going to the wedding, it was either a “sure” or “I don’t know”. This continued till after 4 p.m. and still, if asked what time the wedding will start, they’d still say 3 o’clock.
So about 4:15, with most of Canaan still not dressed, Bobi and I went to the chapel. Inside we found the 5 bridesmaids in blue waiting, as well as Rosemay (Canaan girl) and the bride (all decked out in her bridal dress and veil). We thought ‘how strange that Rosemay is also dressed in a white bridal dress, though with a tiara instead of a veil’. We debated about that while we kept waiting till 5ish. I told Bobi that the bride looks different. I hadn’t met Adeline (the bride) more than a couple times in the last year but this just didn’t ring a bell. I even told Bobi ‘what if they switched with someone else’. I said this just doesn’t look like her and I don‘t believe it‘s her. It was weird. Then the party went out. People were actually starting to fill up the chairs.
Then Stephanson (from Canaan) comes in and stands waiting till Rosemay comes in dancing, and there started the elaborate wedding dance. It was really fun to see. I may never again be satisfied to see bridesmaids walking demurely down the isle!!! Apparently this wasn’t the longest or most elaborate wedding dance ever, but it was interesting to watch - all a story. The ladies would drop the single flower they carried and the guy would stoop to pick it up and stay down looking up, all in a continual dance. There was even a “fight” among two of the guys over the ‘bride’ and her choosing one over the other. I thought it strange that she went and said down without anybody, behind Rosemay, who I figured was the maid of honor but thought ‘oh well, this is Haiti - who knows how they do it’.
Stepanson and Rosemay, the first in the wedding dance
Then the tempo changed, and lo and behold, the real bride walked in. Sister Gladys came in with her and the wedding proceeded with less minor differences. They stayed sitting, even for the vows, and only knelt for the prayer and rings. It was kind of cool, when they answered “yes, Pastor” for the vows, afterward the pastor asked the congregation what they had said, and everybody answered “yes Pastor”. It seemed more like the witness that everybody is.
The danced was performed again with the exit of the bridal party, but not as extensive.
So here’s the custom regarding the bridal party and the white dresses:
You have the godmother, which was Sister Gladys (and the male counterparts). She sits with the bride through it all. Some people’s opinion is they like to pick people with money, rather than someone close to the bride, which could be why they had a problem finding someone to fill the spot. They even asked me to do it, but that was a firm ‘no’ from me. I don’t even know the bride.
Then you have a queen, which was Rosemay, and the reason she was wearing a white dress with a tiara. The other girl in white dress and veil is the princess and the rest of the girls are bridesmaids. Apparently this is the custom for every real wedding. They have their guys of course, who are the king and prince. By dress you couldn’t tell who was the bride.
They served a plate of food prepared in a take-out plate, so serving went fast. They had over 100 people there, I’m sure. There wasn’t much of a dance afterwards that I know of, though that is usual. No gifts that I saw.
Bride and groom, queen, princess and bridesmaids
Godparents with bride and groom
Some go straight to their houses without a honeymoon trip, but if possible their parents will bring them food for a week. Others do go on some sort of trip. I don’t know what this couple did, since what they really wanted and asked for was denied. Can you guess what that was? Probably not, so I’ll tell you.
They wanted to come stay in the guest room here at Canaan that is on top of the girls’ dorm and be served by the people of Canaan for a week. That brought an emphatic “NO” from Sister Gladys, but I’ll admit I feel a little bit like chuckling about it, trying to imagine that. There’s been a “honeymoon couple” here at Canaan once in the past and some of the little kids couldn’t figure out why they slept till noon, and some other little kids tried to enlighten them -“You know what they do..”
Not conducive atmosphere at all here at Canaan.
And now, hopefully they will live “happily ever after”.