Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wedding Bells

That time of year is temporarily closing. That is, the wedding season in Italy. The favorite months to tie the knot are May, June and September. July and August are considered a bit too sticky to be comfortable for the sposi (bride and groom), friends and family, although a few brave souls do sweat out their ceremonies during those high-summer months.

Above is my neighborhood's announcement about the marriage between Erika and Gennaro on June 19th. Italian tradition has the friends of the bride and groom, on the wedding day, make posters that are stuck around town on any and all surfaces: poles, plastic street bins, phone booths, street signs and more. This way everyone knows about who's getting hitched. The posters are often whimsical. White bows are placed on the couple's house and car as further status indicators. The bows on the car seem to stay there for about a month afterward, as a mobile declaration to everyone that the person (especially for the woman) has gotten married. Copies of this poster are still sticking to many places, even though 3 weeks have gone by and water has damaged some of them to the point that they are grey and red washes of color on standard white A4 paper. The picture below shows one poster in better condition but overpowered in importance by the street sign.

As for the house bows, I remember that mine were put up on our wedding day by our neighbors/landlords. By the time we got back from our 2-week honeymoon, the bows had turned grey from the local air pollution so I took them down. Basically the bows were there for as long as we weren't physically in the house.

Another thing friends often do on the wedding day is spray paint a message to the bride and groom on the street outside of their house. It could be something like, "You finally did it!" or "Do you want to look back now before it's too late?" A lot of Italians believe their life is basically over, or at least the fun part, when they get married. Perhaps that explains why they never seems to be under 30 before they make their union official.

Thanks to the bows and wedding signs, now I know the names of two neighbors who live across the street from me, although they know nothing about me.

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