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Polish Gorale (Highlander) Wedding, Chicago, IL, 1990
Two rotund men, with orange-painted faces, and dressed as a peasant man and woman, are determined to bar the way of the newlyweds until they receive their due. They dance around the couple, demanding handouts of money and liquor.
Katrina Thomas's notes: These highlanders from the Tatra mountains, emigrating since WWII to a neighborhood in Chicago, have built there a community hall in mountain-style Gorale architecture. They are the only Poles in the U.S. who retain a wedding culture dress, customs, unique music, and songs in dialect preserved in the isolated region of their homeland. Historically shepherds, the men sing from deep in their chests and play stringed instruments, which they call fiddles, their voices and music echoing from mountainsides while their sheep grow fat. Traditions have not changed appreciably since the 19th century. The couple marrying is accompanied by fiddlers to the nuptial rite and into the church, to the wedding breakfast, and into the evening reception. Gypsy impersonators may bar the newlyweds from the wedding breakfast until given the fare they demand. During the reception, fiddlers play polkas, mazurkas, czardas, two-step, and even rock 'n roll for dancing. At the close of the celebration, an extensive farewell, lasting more than an hour, is the cepoviny, played out in music and song, releasing the bride to her husband, only after many warnings to her and jokes about married life.