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Polish Gorale (Highlander) Wedding, Chicago, IL, 1993
Setting out in the rain for their the nuptials, Halina and Tomasz are each escorted by two members of the opposite sex from the other's family, preferably brothers or sisters. If siblings are not available, the bridegroom chooses the bride's two maids of honor and the bride chooses the groom's two best men.
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.