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My Grandparent's Generation
My Parent's Generation
My Generation

Weddings in My Family

My Grandparent's Generation

A country’s past, has its outcomes, and our society responds to changes in different ways.  My country, Puerto Rico, throughout time has kept several old traditions, made some of their own, and also adopted new customs over the years.  We can see changes in something as common, as wedding songs and wedding ceremonies trough three different generations.  In this essay I will be explaining how a couple’s perspective towards marriage has changed greatly over the years, referring specifically to my grandparents, my parents, and my generation.  We will be able to recognize how before it was all about the love and about the “norms” of society, showing great signs of binary opposition.  But year after year, society has evolved, creating marriage more about deconstruction; people having different views and feelings towards such an important initiation in one’s life. 

        After nine years of being together as boyfriends, my grandparents decided to get married at age 21.  As it was accustomed my grandfather, the man, was the one that conquered my grandmother’s love.  Like in every other Latin society, men in Puerto Rico are what we call “machistas”, meaning that they feel the obligation of protecting women, therefore they feel they are dominant over them, and they are the ones who are supposed to conquer their hearts.  This immediately shows signs of binary opposition because of the fact that it was expected of the man to be the one who proposes and wants to get married, not the woman.  The woman must wait for the man to make the actual decisions. 

My grandfather, Luis Meaux, after having the permission for visiting my grandmother, Luz Sanchez, decided it was time to ask for her hand.  In one of his Sunday visits to my grandmother’s family, he asked his father in law to give away his daughter to him.  The permission was granted, and the date was set. It was 1949, when a very old fashioned rural ceremony was held. 

They had a very simple ceremony at a small chapel close to their neighborhood.  Like it was accustomed all the guests that participated in the ceremony marched from the house to the small church.  The groom waited in the church for everyone, including the bride, who was the last one to arrive.  Luz, arrived in a rented car, since they lived in the country a car was very luxurious, wearing a long white dress.  Her dress had been a gift from a neighbor who made it for her.  She carried a bouquet of white roses, grown in her own backyard.  As she entered the church the 25 guests gazed at her with admiration.  They exchanged the rings, which were simple gold bands.  The ceremony was short and simple and as it concluded everyone headed to the bride’s parents house for the celebration. 

When the couple arrived at the house, their friends threw rice at them as a symbol of prosperity.  The first thing they did was eating.  After everyone was full and happy, the table was moved to a corner and the music started playing.  All they had was an old disk player.  The first song they played and danced to, was their favorite song:  Piel Canela by Bobby Capo, an important Puerto Rican singer. 

            The song “Piel Canela” by Bobby Capo, talks about a man’s feelings towards his woman.  The lyrics tell her that everything in the world could go wrong and he would not care as long as he has her by his side.  He tells her that the only thing that matters is her, and nothing or no one else than her.  The song lets us notice how pure and real this love is and it is worth mentioning that it is the man the one that reveals his feelings.  The woman did not really express his emotions in public as much as the man.  Back then when a man got married, the woman he would share his life with, was seen a little bit like a prize.  In other words, he had won her heart and now she would be his forever.  The woman, in the other hand had just found a man that he loved, and was now entitled to form a family with him, and learn to make him as happy as he could be.  Their song talks only about what he feels about her, it leaves no space for her emotions; although in my grandparent’s case after 53 years of marriage these are pretty obvious. 

            My grandparents, I think, are a full, live, pure and clear example of what true love is about. For me this is an example of what marriage was in the 1950’s, less about the “party” and the wedding itself, and more about real feelings and a committed future.  The wedding was simple but the marriage was real.  As the years go by important details are changing not only in our wedding ceremonies, but also in the way we live life.

Lyrics for: "Piel Canela"
By: Bobby Capo
Que se quede el infinito sin estrellas
o que pierda el ancho mar su inmensidad
pero el negro de tus ojos que no muera
y el canela de tu piel se quede igual.

Si perdiera el arcoiris su belleza
y la flores su perfume y su color,
no sería tan inmensa mi tristeza,
como aquella de quedarme sin tu amor.

Me importas tú, y tú y tú
y nadie más que tú...
me importas tú, y tú y tú
y solamente tú.
Ojos negros piel canela,
que me llegan a desesperar,
me importas tú, y tú y tú
y solamente tú.

In English:
That the infinite without stars remains
or that loses the wide sea its immensity
but the black of your eyes that does not die
and the cinnamon of your skin remains equal.

If the rainbow lost its beauty
and the flowers its perfume and its color,
it wouldn't be so immense my sadness,
like that to be had left I without your love. 
My concern is you, and you and you
and nobody just you
my concern is you, and you, and you
only you
Black eyes skin cinnamon,
that they get to me to be hopeless,
My concern is you, and you, nobody just you