Facebook Challenge 11: Native American Wedding

For this challenge, Mary asked for a wedding incorporating Native American traditions. Since the traditions amongst America’s indigenous people are so vast, I decided to research traditions among the Apachean tribes, because I am told I am part Apache (very small part: 1/8 or so) and I wanted to learn more about this part of my heritage. The current division of Apachean groups includes the Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apache).

On the left of your screen, you will see what looks like an invitation. It is the Apache Wedding Blessing that is so often read at weddings. Here is the text: Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now you will feel no loneliness, although you are two people, there is but one life before you. So enter in to that life, and may your days be good and long upon the earth.

The basket you see is a Navajo wedding basket. Here is some information on what the basket represents from http://www.navajocrafts.net/site/618450/page/853656. “The NAVAJO CEREMONIAL BASKET also called NAVAJO WEDDING BASKET is viewed as a map through which the Navajo chart their lives. The central spot in the basket represents the sipapu, where the Navajo people emerged from the prior world through a reed. The inner coils of the basket are white to represent birth. As you travel outward on the coils you begin to encounter more and more black. The black represents darkness, struggle and pain. As you make your way through the darkness you eventually reach the red bands, which represent marriage; the mixing of your blood with your spouse and creation of family. The red is pure. During this time there is no darkness. Traveling out of familial bands you encounter more darkness, however, the darkness is interspersed with white light. The light represents increasing enlightenment, which expands until you enter the all white banding of the outer rim. This banding represents the spirit world, where there is no darkness. The line from the center of the basket to the outer rim is there to remind you that no matter how much darkness you encounter in your world, there is always a pathway to the light. This pathway during ceremonies is always pointed east. The last coil on the basket rim is finished off at this pathway to allow the medicine man to easily locate it in darkness. Additionally the Navajo Ceremonial Basket serves another purpose. In none of the ancient Navajo rites is a regular drum or tom-tom employed. The inverted basket serves the purpose.”

The dress and shirt you see are Apache. The shirt is called a “war shirt” and was typically worn during the colder months.

The dancers are Apache crown dancers and I chose that photo because they are dancing around a fire as I wanted to emulate the “warmth” from the wedding blessing. The same feeling is shown through the rustic flower covered structure at the bottom of the set to emulate the “shelter” from said blessing.

The vase you see is a wedding vase. “There aren’t really any words with this ceremony. First the bride drinks from one side of the vase. Then she turns it and the Groom drinks from the opposite site. Then they both drink at the same time and it’s said if they don’t spill anything the marriage will have good luck and prosper. (http://www.aaanativearts.com/article1404.html).”

The cake and jewelry are compliments to the traditions presented.

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