Sunday 25 March 2018

Let's Feel Slovenia (Understanding Slovenia)

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Something Old, Something New – by Joy Corkery

Traditional wedding customs are in decline. People are less inclined to use more traditional customs; instead putting a more unique and personal touch on their big day. Nowadays people do not feel obliged to marry in a religious building or a registry office, and may instead choose to marry on beaches, in castles, in football stadiums and at any other type of uncustomary venue. The shift away from tradition goes much deeper than neglecting traditional venues, with many rituals being abandoned completely as they are seen as time consuming. Many have applauded this shift away from tradition. Nevertheless, there are many who fear that if their country's customs will die out completely, their culture and sense of identity will be affected. They argue that the continuation of customs and traditions are a testimony to how far the country has come and its survival through time.

Yet there are still places which uphold strong traditions in their marriage ceremonies. Slovenia is one such place and perhaps one which may surprise people. Anyone familiar with Slovenian legislation will know that there are steps being taken to legalize same-sex marriage, even though this attempt is taking a one-step forward two-steps-back approach. Customs associated with Slovenian weddings have adapted over time due to cultural influences which have affected the country. This is perhaps due to the steady influx of people coming from abroad to get married in Slovenia. The costs of getting married in Slovenia are much less in comparison to say Barbadosor the Bahamas. Yet the country can offer natural beauty, historical sights, intimate castles and everything one could want to exchange vows in style, which are in par with everything the more popular tourist wedding resorts have to offer. In fact, the Slovenians have now begun to advertise the country as an idyllic venue, therefore prompting them to become more open to less traditional wedding traditions. Nevertheless, it is a country which strives to uphold tradition.

To start with, there are certain restrictions with regards to wedding venues. InSloveniaweddings can take place outside of traditional wedding venues; however authorities favour traditional wedding institutions and historical places of significance. So, in order to marry in a place which is not already pre-authorised, a personal explanation for your choice of a non-standard wedding destination must be provided. Additionally, the ceremony officially requires Mendelssohn's 'Wedding March' to be played, flowers and suitable lighting.

Many of Slovenia's traditional wedding customs revolve around the bride. The bride dresses customarily in white and is aided by her maid of honour throughout the day. A red carnation is pinned in the bride's hair by the maid of honour, who also unveils the bride at the ceremony. The wedding commences with the arrival of the guests at the brides house early in the morning. 

Beginning here, and continuing throughout the day, both the bridal party and the guests, play a number of traditional Slovenian wedding games. The most famous of these games is 'Kidnap the Bride'. This consists of the kidnapping of the bride by the groomsmen, who bring the bride to various taverns across the village, leaving a trail behind in order for the groom to trace their steps where he then pays a ransom for the return of his beloved.

Overall in Slovenia, the wedding ceremony and the reception afterwards are lavish affairs. The Slovenian people have a zest for life and love and their weddings truly exemplify this. Their weddings also have a unique way of adapting to modernisation while also keeping tradition alive. Weddings can say a lot about people, and certainly in Slovenia, weddings provide a large window into cultural traditions.

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