Weddings and Funeral Ceremonies in Two Distinct Cultures

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This essay will compare two distinct cultures and how emotions are expressed at two significant life events – weddings and funeral ceremonies. In American culture, wedding is associated with such traditions as bridal shower, veil, bridesmaids and groomsmen (including maid of honor and best man), flower girls and page boys (including ring bearer) and groom’s cake. Before wedding is sealed by a kiss, a celebrant asks the gathering the following question: “If there is any among you who know of any reason why this wedding should not be performed, speak now or forever remain silent.” Emotions expressed during the ceremony are that of joy and anticipation, and the mood is elevated and cheerful. In order to compare wedding traditions in different cultures, this essay will focus on Russian marriage ceremonies.

Weddings in ancient Russia used to be very different from modern day celebrations. Russia has been heavily influenced by seventy years of Soviet rule, and contemporary wedding ceremonies produce an impression of a highly bureaucratized, formal procedure. Instead of maid of honor and best man, female and male friend of the couple are called “witnesses”. The tradition of bridal shower is called devichnik.

In the past, bride had to lament, saying goodbye to her girlish freedom (Ponomarenko, 2006). In modern day Russia, devichnik usually means a wild party with female friends, with alcohol and male striptease. Thus, emotions expressed during a Russian wedding are mixed: on the one hand, it is happiness and joy, but it is also melancholy caused by losing youthful freedom and entering adulthood. A funeral ceremony in the U.S. consists of four stages, namely visitation, funeral, burial service and a repast. During visitation, family and relatives try to remember positive things about the deceased, so the experience of sorrow is mixed with gradual acceptance and respectful remembrance.

Funeral is conducted in silence, usually with a prayer. The idea of a repast.

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