Weddings in Carriacou
Many of the old marriage traditions have gradually been eroded over the years and new, modern ceremonies have taken their place.
Christine David in her book, ‘Folklore of Carriacou’ reminds us of some of the older traditions.
Female dancers, on the bride’s side, ‘danced the cake and male dancers, on the groom’s side, danced the flag’. The two groups of dancers met and competed for dominance. The groom’s flag had to be kept above the bride’s flag, signifying the head of the house. A broken cake signified a broken marriage (not a good omen to be sure). Trampling on another’s flag could lead to all sorts of superstitions. The bride’s mother sometimes kissed the feet of the groom’s mother to demonstrate submission. After the ‘competition’ both parties went to the bride’s home for the ‘Saraca’ and reception.
Christine goes on to say, ‘two very common sentences written on flags on this occasion are, “In God we trust” and “Unity is Strength”.’
When the marriage entourage reached its destination everyone greeted the married couple with the words, “Sweet, nice! Oh, sweet man!”
‘The bride and groom stand at the front, the mother-giver and father-giver second or last and the rest of the followers pair off, each pair comprising male and female. With the accompaniment of string band music, they walk slowly toward the home of the bride, under an arch made of coconut palms.’
Both sets of parents were said to dance in front of the married couple and ‘uncooked rice is thrown over their heads as words, “blind their eyes” are usually repeated by individuals from the crowd.’
After the bride and groom have been led into the house the reception continues and afterwards the bride and groom are driven to their new home.
Dennis Gay’s Wedding
Dennis and Marilyn Gay’s took place on Tuesday 16th April 1968. I was asked to take photographs of the wedding, which I did. The wedding took place in the Catholic church, presided over by Father Fitton. A big reception followed with a dance at Hillsborough Government school in the evening.
I hope the photographs I’ve published here bring happy memories to all those who participated on that day.