Monday, August 29, 2011

Magda's Wedding

So as most of you know, I headed back to Europe from the States a bit earlier than I actually had to do so for work.  This was because my very good friend was getting married.  Magdalena and I have been friends since we met at Hungarian Language School almost three years ago, and have bonded closely in the way that expats do.  Magda is Polish, but lives here in Hungary with her Hungarian now-husband.  I was invited to her wedding this summer and I was super excited to attend, experience a bit of central European culture, and have a ton of fun.

First, of course, I had to get to the wedding.  This involved a seven hour bus trip through beautiful Slovakian and Polish countryside on Friday.  I spent a quick night in Krakow, then woke up early on Saturday morning.  After meeting Lyla at the train station, we caught the train to Debica, then a taxi to the hotel.  We laid about for a bit before then getting ready and catching a bus to the wedding.
Sadly, the weather was not very cooperative, but it was still a lovely day.  This is the church.
There was a polka band!  Polka!
the altarpiece
The ceremony itself was beautiful.  The priest switched back and forth from Hungarian to Polish and back again.  It was just lovely, the thought of two such different people coming together, and bringing all of their friends and families together with them.
After the wedding, there were people in crazy costumes everywhere.  I guess it is local tradition to dress up and essentially harass the bride and groom for vodka, cake, coins, and other treats.  They also poured potatoes on the ground  (like hundreds of potatoes) and made Bela gather them up to prove that he can be a good provider.
After the bus kept getting stopped by the local revelers, we arrived to the reception tent at Magda's childhood home.  We were greeted by balloons in both the Polish and the Hungarian colors.
This being central Europe, the first thing done upon entering the tent was a ceremonial shot-taking.  They then had to throw the shot glasses behind them.  They didn't break, though, so Bela then had to stomp each of the shot glasses.  The happy couple then swept up the broken glass together while their family swatted at them.
Dinner was served family-style, and it was pretty darn delicious.  Not pictured: bottles and bottles and bottles of vodka and other alcohols.
Lyla and I were very pretty, if I do say so myself.
The night continued.  There was a lot of dancing, both of the more Central-European variety and of the Chicken dance variety.  There was a slideshow of the couple's life, and many toasts, and oh so much vodka.  At one point, I went on a quest for water.  "Voda?" I asked several servers.  "Tak, VODKA!" they all replied, pressing bottles into my hand.  It was an adventure.  Dogs showed up, and we played with them.  Cake was served.  Many conga lines went around.  I somehow had full conversations with people who only speak Polish.  And when, late late at night, the above-pictured meat jello (aspic) was served, I even tried some.  And then more dancing, and more buffalo grass, and telling everyone in very excited Hungarian that "THIS WAS A BEAUTIFUL WEDDING."  Finally, I started a movement around six in the morning, linked arms with Lyla and some strangers, and fell asleep on a table.  The groom came and woke us up, shouting that there was important dancing to be done, but we demurred and asked for a ride back to the hotel instead.

The next morning there was a brunch, where most of the guests were wearing sunglasses despite the cloudy sky, and then Lyla and I spent the day in the weird little hotel, eating cake and catching up on life.
This American got to be one of only a handful of foreigners in attendance, and experience a totally different, yet totally familiar, Very Important Day.  It was beautiful, to see all these people coming together, and communicating somehow despite language and cultural barriers.  It was beautiful to be a part of it.  And so much fun!  My life is pretty awesome.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Yes, it is awesome! Sounds like a fantastic wedding/reception. Glad you survived!