People feel in their bones the need to get together in clans, reasserting an ancient custom,
They are excuses for clans to put on a show, there is a deadline, team-work, creativity and the guests to delight and impress, it brings out the adrenaline of war but for better purpose. Everything on a bigger scale and timetabled, avoiding disasters.
Also depth. Death and Marriages link to history, continuity, past future stuff.
This can be very moving, and was in the Autumn marriages I was involved in round here.
All three were Welsh English marriages as it happens, and no-one failed to feel the linkage, also to the land.
They were cultural flower gardens, people bringing their madness, artistry, carpentry, cooking, decorating skills, dress-making, beer-making, choral singing...and spirituality.
Below extracts from a Pembrokeshire Life article..
Sara and her partner had a traditional chapel marriage followed by a reception in Nant-y-Fin motel. His family came to the area for the alternative way of life and the Steiner school. Sara’s family are a core part of the farming community of the Gwaun area.
The groom’s family were not just welcomed, they were being embraced by a unique community that has survived and risen above the forces of globalisation, conformism, anglicisation, to retain its independent Cymraeg soul. And it was celebrating a marriage with a different tradition. People left with the harmonies of the childrens Welsh singing echoing in their ears.
Same day, other end of the Gwaun Valley another alternatively raised young man was marrying a Welsh speaking wife. The ‘priestess’ was Emma Orbach who lives extreme green without electricity or commodities or conveniences in the roundhouse she built with hand tools and a wheelbarrow in her woods.
On the sacred mound she reconnected past and present. Robin and Maya had brought love and life to a place which had fallen into decay and darkness. There had been many guardians of this sacred landscape, befpre them. The spirits of the oak trees, the mountain above and the ancestors in the graveyard below were invoked. Welsh language blessings followed. The couple led everyone under the flower arch to tie ribbons imbued with their wishes to the giant oak.
Fifty people over a week had built the set, the stage, the bar, the children's area, a three bears table, the recycling bins. Maya sewed her own dress, neighbour’s gardens provided the flowers, the couple had forged their ring with the local silversmith.
After meal and speeches including many thankings of the farmers at the top table whose land had been used, came the performances.
How diverse can you get, Irish relatives did proper music, a glove monkey sang with his keeper, a rude but witty performance by the unmissable ladies, Siobhan, Maya (dragged in unprepared) and Gwendoline Watson, and many more. The favourite was Kim's song about growing up here, which encapsulates the hippy experience, the marquee shook with the laughter of recognition of our shared experiences, whether as parents, neighbours onlooking or the children enduring the foul herbal remedies or the saggy tits in the sweat lodges. But they 'wouldnt change it for the world, times like these'
A young guest said it was like the rich mixed entertainment of the middle ages.
Another marriage took place a week later, of Lorien and Ceri Morgan, the bee king.
All were celebrations of where we have come to, communities contributing their talents, The shadows overhanging the future were part of the drama of the emotional landscape that gave them the shine of something memorable to hold onto.
And weeks later a shadow engulfed - the Best Man at the last wedding died tragically, drugs. He had been too sweet a person, too soft and had been stollen by the drug culture. His best friend wanted his soul mate to come through. He was made best man at his wedding, as a vision of what he might have been. Then he died, the logs in my sons shed are still stacked neatly by him, the photographs of him as a Celt charging with his friends at the wedding are fresh on my computer and Facebook has pages and pages of heartfelt tributes.
Part of the multi-layered tragedy of the Jilted Generation.
What is Wales going to do?
I am going to a Plaid conference on Monday on rebuilding communities and whether the present use of money is working. Nerys Evans, a Plaid AM has been researching and found that no, almost all the billions spent to help has been ineffective.
Harp and spiritual words join past generations to the new guardians of the sacred landscape