We Sing When We're Joyful
My father used to sing to me songs of Klezmer origin, which he remembered from the times he played at Jewish weddings back in his homeland, Russia. He told me fascinating stories about the different customs for Jewish weddings. I learned that traditional Jewish marriages were arranged by matchmakers and the separate rituals took place at the bride and groom’s houses. Prior to their wedding, the marriage contract was negotiated by the families of both parties. The bride's family would hold the engagement party, which was expected to be incredibly lavish. On the day of the wedding, the bride dresses up in beautiful clothes and is serenaded by her friends, while they sing a “farewell” song. The groom arrives with his entourage, but is not allowed to escort the bride until he "pays" enough to her, as a symbol of her worth. As the wedding guests make their way from the bride’s house to the groom’s house, people dance, sing and carry burning candles. Friends of the groom throw rice over the bride to bring her good luck and many children. After the wedding there is a large gathering, in which guests present their gifts to the bride and groom. Men perform dances, while the bride and groom are lifted in separate chairs. Since my childhood, I have been in love with the rhythm, melodies, and lyrics of the Klezmer songs. I hope you'll enjoy listening to them as much as I do.