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Polish Gorale (Highlander) Wedding, Chicago, IL, 1990
Entering the reception with Dominika's arm in his, Marek smiles at guests. Like the men of the wedding party, the band, and many male guests, The is dressed in traditional Highlander garb, the white wool pants of the Gorale and a jacket (always worn like a cape) with black, red and green embroidery. On his head is a black hat, trimmed with a band of cowrie shells, and a white feather.
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.