クロアチアの結婚式 Wedding Ceremony in Croatia
クロアチアの田舎での伝統的な結婚式は100人～300人のゲストを呼んで2日間（場合によっては3日間！）にわたって続くらしいです。でもザグレブなどの都会では金曜日の１７：００頃に結婚式をして、夕食を兼ねたパーティーがせいぜい次の朝まで続くという感じ。また、結婚式当日、barjaktarと呼ばれるクロアチアの国旗を持った旗手を先頭に、新郎の家から新婦の家へ新婦を迎えに行きます。そのあと、教会、教会からパーティー会場まで旗手を先頭に列が進んでいきます。歩ける距離ではない場合は、車に国旗を付けて勢いよくクラクションを鳴らしながら走っていきます。そんな結婚式の行列を見かけたら、車のクラクションを鳴らしてお祝いするのがクロアチア風。最初、そんな光景に出くわしたとき、デモかナショナリスト運動か、と警戒してしまったけれど・・・ (^ ^;)。
結婚式は市庁舎の中の小さな部屋で行われました。その部屋の机の向こうにセレブラントと法廷通訳人が座って、クロアチアの法律上での夫婦の義務などを読み上げていました。印象的だったのは、「日常のコミュニケーションを大切にして、健全な家庭を築いてください」と言われたこと。そのあと、指輪交換をして、新郎、新婦、証人の順にmarriage bookにサインをしました。このとき、新しい苗字のサインを決めていなかったというか練習をしておかなかったので、かなり焦りました∑(ﾟДﾟ) そしてサイン見事に失敗というか変なサインに・・・一生残るのに。新しい苗字でサインすることをすっかり忘れてました・・・ あとはゲスト、セレブラント、法廷通訳人の人たちと写真を撮ったり、あいさつしたり和やかな雰囲気の中終わりました。
I've heard that the traditional Croatian wedding party and reception continues for 2 to 3 days with 100 to 300 guests in a countryside. But in a big city like Zagreb, usually a wedding ceremony is held around 17:00 to 18:00 on Friday, and then people have a reception afterwords until next morning.
On wedding day, a groom and his family and friends march to a bride's house with a flagman (barjaktar) in the lead, who holds a big Croatian flag (zastava), to pick up his bride. It is very old custom and may not be practiced apart from in the countryside but, when the groom and his company arrives at the bride's house, the bride throws an apple over the roof of the house to show that she is healthy and strong enough. However, it seems like this custom is kind of dead, and only a small village in the countryside may keep this custom.
After the groom picks up his brides, then the flagman leads everyone to the church, and then to the reception venue. If the bride's house, the church or the wedding venue is not a walkable distance, then a "flag-car"(a car attached with the flag), instead of the flagman, takes the groom and the bride to the church and to the reception venue. When you see such procession or the car having the flag and honking on the road while you drive a car, then honk at them. It's a Croatian way of celebrating them :) When I first say such procession, I thought they might have a demonstration or something like nationalistic movement or something, because in Japan, we don't have much occasion to hold a flag with us.
In Croatia, the groom goes to the bride's house to pick up her, but in Japan, it's opposite. Traditionally, the bride leaves her house and goes to the groom's house to greet his family, and then the bride and the groom go to a wedding venue. This is because, the marriage in Japan is connecting two different families, but not in an equal manner. I mean, the bride becomes a member of the groom's family, but the bride's parents tend to take a distance from their daughter after marring her husband. So, it is important for the bride to socialise with the husband's family and relatives, because after marrying him, generally, priority goes to his family and not to her parents and family. Hence, visiting and greeting the groom's family is something like, showing that she leaves her family and ready to be a member of the husband's family and asking them to accept her as a member of the family.
For example, when I talked to my parents over the Skype in front of my husband, they were worried if we talked to long because they thought my husband might get upset or something. Or when I went back to Japan alone after marrying my husband, my parents said that I shouldn't stay with them too long, because I had to go back to Croatia and do some domestic works. They sound a bit over-reacting or too worry about my status as being a wife, but this shows how Japanese parents see marriage: once you get married, you have to take a good care of your husband, and you belong to him (and his family). I told my parents that my husband doesn't care about those and he can do things by himself, but I couldn't change their attitudes. It's a bit sad...
The ceremony itself was held at a relatively small room in the local government office starting at 17:45. We had a celebrant and the court translator over the big table in the room. What memorable was that the celebrant told us to have a good communication to understand each other and to create a healthy and good family together. Then, exchange the wedding bands, and signed the wedding book. I forgot that I had to sign with my family name and I didn't decide (practice) the new sign before the wedding day, so I was a bit panicked and made a weird sign :(
When we crossed the road by foot on the way back to our apartment, a tram driver honked and wave at us to celebrate us. It was a moment when I felt like I was welcomed and accepted into Croatia :)
By the way, in Croatia, there is no custom to make a wedding gift lists like in Australia. Usually guests give money (50 to 100 euros) to the bride and groom. Some people give a gift, but it seems like money is more preferable. In that sense, Croatia is similar to Japan.