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What strange customs these natives have

We’re currently in Minnesota for my sister-in-laws wedding, which was Saturday. It was lovely and the junior bridesmaid, flower girl and ring bearer were fantastic. The bride and groom are now happily hitched. The bride was beautiful, the groom was beaming–just what a happy couple should be. It was a rather elaborate affair, not expensive and fancy, just . . . involved.

Weddings tended to the simple when I was growing up. Small receptions in the church hall with cake and punch. And although the weddings in DC were much more formal and expensive, I really wasn’t involved in them other than enjoying the celebration and bestowing happy wishes on the blessed couple. There are many customs that were curious to my simple West Texas ways.

  • Groomsmen and ushers: the groomsmen aren’t exactly overburdened with duties. Can’t they seat people?
  • The Dollar Dance: not unknown, but not part of my tradition.
  • The sheer number of “special dances.” We left at number 5, because we had to get the rugrats to bed. I have no idea how long the special dances went on. For our wedding, we had a 1st dance, parent/child dance. Then everybody got in on the dancing.
  • Raffling off the garter: ??? My Little Miss apparently sold quite a few raffle tickets to the event. I’m a little ambivilent about her success.
  • Gathering for another (much smaller & simpler) party for opening of gifts the day afterward: okay, this thing is ending sometime, right? Because we’ve got to get back to Texas.

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There were other interested variations that were almost, but not quite, what I’m used to. Every time we come to Minnesota, I’m reminded that there is not on “American culture,” but rather many smaller cultures, combining and evolving and sometimes freaking me out. Hotdish, for example, freaks me out a little bit. (We’re having Tatertot Hotdish tonight. I’m tingly with anticipation. Or maybe that’s fear.) Even where we are near Dallas is much different from Virginia and even my hometown in West Texas.

We have a tendency to think we are homogenizing and cultural variations are dissapearing. And maybe that’s true to some extent. There is, after all, a hockey team in Dallas now. But we’ll still watch our hockey while enjoying a Frito Pie and the Minnesotans can keep their lutefisk.

3 responses to “What strange customs these natives have”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I found your blog a while back and have been reading ever since. I can SO identify with this post – I’ve lived in Minnesota for about a year and a half now after a lifetime in the deep south. “Culture shock” doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt those first few months. I do agree that it would be pretty much the same experience with any move to a new region, but I can certainly sympathize. On the bright side, hotdish isn’t bad once you brave that first bite and I love jello salad (which I’d never had until I came here). Pasties are really good, too. As for lutefisk… I’ve tried really hard to assimilate myself, although I know that I will never be mistaken for a native Minnesotan once I open my mouth. Heh – my friends here think it’s hysterical to hear me say “pop” and “oh for cute” with a southern accent. There are limits, though. Minnesotaisms might creep into my vocabulary, but nothing, NOTHING, could induce me to try lutefisk…

  2. Carrie Avatar

    Raffling off the garter, wow….I’m just kind of taken a back by that one. Its kind of strange, no?

  3. April Avatar

    Hello, Anonymous! Jello salad freaks me out. I think it’s the fruit bits suspended in it. Weird man. I think what gets me about Minnesota and all it’s charms is that it’s weirdness is hidden. You don’t really see it right off. But once you get talking to people, Oh for crazy!

    Sis, yeah, the raffle was bewildering. In the words of one of the best movies of all time: “Okay, then.”

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