Something I won’t forget: BABS for one day
by Eduard Schaepman, on 3 Oct 2019
Last Friday I had a very special role as BABS (Dutch Extraordinary Civil Servant)! I was privileged to marry Miss Esmee from group 8a of the Public Primary School Blaricum with Steve! Teacher Esmee got married and wanted to celebrate this with her class, so she decided to celebrate her wedding once again on a grand scale at the OBB.
What a festive day it was, and what an honor it was to fulfil this role. Of course, we were all a bit nervous before the bride and groom arrived. The decorations in the classroom were hung straight the last time, the schoolyard was quickly wiped clean, the children went outside and then they arrived! They looked beautiful, teacher Esmee in a white dress, Steve in a neat suit, and according to tradition, in a decorated car. After the ceremony we of course celebrated it well!
This special day made me curious about the traditions of other cultures, especially the tribes. Commitments are a special event all over the world, which is reflected in a festive ceremony. Of course, there are a lot of tears involved, and in China it is even a forerunner of a beautiful marriage. When people don't cry on the day itself, that's not a good sign... So, the bride even starts crying a month before the wedding. One hour of crying a day, in which the mother and other female family members join every now and then, is according to them the recipe for a happy couple.
In Ethiopia, near the Hamar, young men first have to 'jump' over a row of cows to show themselves to be a worthy husband. Marriageable ladies are dancing and singing in a row and encourage their favorite warrior. Once he has completed the ceremony, his parents will talk to the parents of a future bride, to agree on a dowry (often cows). The young couple is then waiting with excitement from a distance: will they agree? Not far from there live the Suri, who have the same ceremony, but there the men have to fight each other with sticks. The one who stands up last is the lucky winner and can choose his bride from the cheering crowd.
Another special tradition takes place at the Ait Haddidou tribe in the Atlas Mountains in central Morocco. In the village of Imilchil, at an altitude of 2119 metres. Every year from the end of August there is a wedding festival. It takes a few weeks, when members of the sub-tribes from far away come together at the tomb of Saint Sidi Ahmed Oulmghani. Young people can ask each other to marry during the festival, after which they are married collectively. According to tradition, young girls and women, but also divorced women and widows, beautifully dressed and heavily painted, come to the festival. The make-up helps them to chase away evil spirits, and the way the ladies wear their hair shows whether or not they will marry for the first time. And a woman doesn't shout 'yes', but 'you've caught my liver' as an answer to the question.
Even though the customs are different all over the world, every culture celebrates a union exuberantly. One thing is certain: your wedding day is an important day, one that you will not forget. And I can tell you, you won’t forget the day you have acted as BABS: what an honor!
I wish teacher Esmee and her Steve lots of luck and happiness