Religious Identity | #3

Growing up, I went to 2 churches.  My mom was very Catholic, because she is from the Philippines.  Meanwhile, my dad believed in the Bible but not the Catholic faith – he felt it was too strict.  So, we would go to a Christian church with my dad.  Throughout my childhood, I bounced back and forth between the two churches with my parents, and was very involved with ministry in high school.

When I left for college, I tried going to a few on-campus church services on my own, but never felt that comfortable.  Over time I realized that my faith strongly relied on my parents, and as an individual, I am not religious.  For a while I felt guilty for walking away from something I was once so passionate for.  But, with my internship as an event planner has changed my perspective on religion.  Most of the events I help design, plan, and coordinate are weddings; events which are fundamentally religious and spiritual.  I have been gratefully granted the opportunity to work weddings of different religions, and be exposed to a variety of traditions.

One beautiful wedding I worked was a Jewish wedding at the UMMA, between Rachel + Andrew.  During a Jewish wedding ceremony, the bride and groom stand under a chuppah, which is a religious structure with a canopy:

After the ceremony, the groom breaks a glass with his right foot.  Guests shout, “Mazel tov!”, a Hebrew phrase which translates to congratulations.  Dinner and the party follows.  One of the most well-known Jewish wedding traditions is the hora, which is when the bride and groom are hoisted into the air on chairs.  Guests dance in a circle while the bride and groom try their best to balance themselves:

Another beautiful religious wedding I worked was a Hindu wedding at Cornman Farms, between Irina + Trey.  As I have discovered, many religions use a covered structure during a wedding ceremony.  For Hindu weddings, it is called a mandap.  The bride and groom are seated for the ceremony next to an agni, which is a holy fire:

In addition, the bride is traditionally dressed in a lehenga, a two piece dress with detailed embroidery.  The groom wears a jodhpuri, which is a formal suit from India:

Overall, it has been amazing to experience a wedding from different religious perspectives.  While the ceremony, dress, dances, and other aspects vary from religion to religion, there is one thing that has remained constant – a happy couple!  While I consider myself to be agnostic, I still appreciate other religion’s beautiful traditions and rituals.



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