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He Symbolic Significance of Marriage - Term Paper Example

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Marriage Meaning: Seclusion, Defloration and Male First Right All around the world, weddings are intended to be happy, interactive occasions. They are also symbolic occasions. Some of the classic symbols for weddings in the US include wedding rings and a ring bearer, a tossed bridal bouquet and a tossed garter, bells, flowers and a flower girl, bridesmaids and a best man, processional music, a bridal gown and veil, the vows, the kiss, the cake, the dance…
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He Symbolic Significance of Marriage
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He Symbolic Significance of Marriage

Download file to see previous pages... Marriage is a popular rite of passage and ritual drives the process, although the forms of ritual vary in different cultures and across different time periods. In spite of variance, it is possible to consider the symbolic meaning of marriage because, while specific details may vary, symbolic meaning is more similar than not. Nowhere is it more visible and explicit than in the ritual surrounding weddings. This paper intends to consider the symbolic meaning of marriage through the application of symbolic interaction theory to selected ritual elements, taken from various cultures and time periods. The aim of this paper is to distill the universal or near universal core meaning, if any, from various marriage practices, specifically those related to seclusion, defloration, and the right of the first night. Symbolic interaction theory describes a theoretical perspective that looks at how meaning (or reality) is socially negotiated and constructed through interaction with others and the environment, based on shared understanding of symbols. We are part of the social environment and, as such, are social objects which reflect social influence. Even something as personal as our self-image and self-identity are, in fact, socially negotiated with others. We exist in the interactive space, where we are defined. The props and social scripts we use enable us to be defined and redefined, constructed and reconstructed, in a variety of social contexts. Marriage is a social context. A bride and groom, and later the husband and wife, enact social roles, using scripts which are based on cultural norms and family norms, which the couple were separately socialized into, while growing up. Although the couple may choose to get married while parachuting down to earth or bouncing from bungee cords; may write their own vows or leave out the parts they don’t agree with; get married in a designer gown or a mini skirt; honeymoon in Maui or Las Vegas; buy a condominium or an RV, still their props and scripts and picture of marriage reflect their social reference groups. They are connected to society through the vocabulary of symbols they have acquired. A basic symbol of marriage is gender separation. In South Asia, this is termed “perdah” and is a system of secluding women and rigidly enforcing modesty in women. Among Muslims, purdah seclusion begins when a girl reaches puberty, and her restrictions do not apply to her interactions with male family members but only to non-relatives. Hindu women have restrictions on their interactions with male friends and seclusion begins when she marries (Papanek, 1973). This idea of female seclusion is visible, symbolically, in US wedding customs, as well. Instead of a combined prenuptial party, generally the guys, including the groom, have a bachelor party, with no known girls invited, in which they engage in an exaggerated caricature of male interests (mischief, drunkenness, and maybe a striptease dancer or two). Girls, including the bride, have a bridal shower with slightly scandalous gifts and games, emphasizing the boundaries of modesty (negligees, lingerie, perfume, massage accoutrements), and of course there are no males allowed (unless the girls invite a male stripper, in a more modern ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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