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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Charivari (sha-ree-va-rée)

Today I was reminded that we have a great-niece and a great-nephew getting married this winter and coming spring. That triggered memory of a conversation I had with a couple of friends some years our senior. She told the story of their wedding night.

Apparently, in some rural areas of Kentucky in that day the custom of charivari was still alive. During the night following the excitement of their wedding day there was suddenly a horrible noise, cow bells, loud shouting, clanging and banging. She said she knew what it was, but her husband was from a different region. He, waking from a deep sleep, jumped up from the bed, grabbed off the mattress (rolling her onto the floor in the process) doubled it over under his arm and ran out of the building, leaving his bride dumped on the floor. In his own defense while she told the story, he said he thought there was a fire. In his sleep sodden brain, he temporarily forgot she was there.

I Googled the word to see what I could find about the custom. It seems to be a custom brought over from Europe, mostly France, and was (is?) popular with the French settlers including those in Canada, New England, and the Cajun of Louisiana. Want to know more? Go to this site and scroll down to "What is a charivari?"

Now I understand why bridal couples try to keep their honeymoon destinations secret. Funny, the games we play.


Benjamin Vogt said...

I know a different spelling, passed down from my Prussian ancestors. And I know a darker story, where one of my family was accidently shot and killed at one after chicken were let loose in the house. But that's all I know....

Barbee' said...

How tragic, Benjamin! People scare me sometimes. I guess the spelling I used is French(?) maybe. I'm glad we didn't have that custom where I lived. I was thinking of you earlier this evening. I mentioned your blog in a post I was struggling to write, but I was making such hash of it, it may never be published; I really know nothing about writing. Wish I could be one of your students. You write so well.

Balisha said...

I always heard it called Chivary..a wedding custom from the Appalachians.Well,either one...it's not a very good custom. Poor bride and groom. In my day, they would always try to find the couple's car and decorate it or do some tricks with it. We hid our car in our neighbor's garage..

Lucy said...

I find this a very reassuring story. Imagine if he had been so used to having a woman in his bed his first thought was to rescue her!


Barbee' said...

Hi Balisha. Good idea.
Lucy, that is so funny! I never thought of it that way.