|the ceremonial words|
|the pelting of the rice|
As many of you have heard or even witnessed, our school playground as become the venue of many pretend weddings. I'm thinking that perhaps the recent royal wedding has sparked this fascination, but can't be sure. All I know is that at most recesses lately, pairs of children announce that they are going to be married, and then the stage is set for increasingly elaborate ceremonies. Now we have children bringing small bags of rice, picking flowers for bouquets, playing music both during the ceremony and at the "reception", etc. Each time it happens, a new element is added.
Older and younger children are in this together--although it is clear from watching that the older children much prefer to be the "staff" - they are the musicians, clergy, and/or limo drivers (yes, there is even a limo ride for the happy couple after the ceremony - one of the big bikes is used). In fact, it was a 4th grader who took these photographs. The younger children are the ones who want to be the real stars of the show, and have not become old enough to feel shy or embarrassed. This wedding play is totally child driven, and we adults are shuttled to the sideline to enjoy from afar. It is very sweet, and an amazing opportunity for all ages of children to find roles they are comfortable with and to enjoy each other for what they bring to the play.
Children use fantasy as a way of understanding the world. This wedding play allows them to become connected to a reality to that they are hoping to be part of someday. Pretending to be an adult makes them feel grown up--children just want to do what bigger people do. They also use these pretend scenarios to make sense of things that they don't fully understand. A couple of years ago, we had many funerals on the playground, as our poor dead hermit crab was dug up and reburied time and again. (I have to admit, I like this better.)
I have been thinking about ways to extend this play--and have been researching books about how different cultures celebrate weddings. I hope to share these with the children as soon as I find them.