Emo Chupak – They Got Married

In Hiaki culture, when two people get married, the bride moves to live with the groom in a house close to his family. So, much of the wedding ceremony includes activities centered around the couple’s new home. The bride is expected to cook for herself and her husband, so she is given cooking supplies and utensils as wedding gifts and she is shown the kitchen of their new home. At the couple’s new house are two pahkola dancers who portray the bride and the groom in a lighthearted and comedic performance. The dancer portraying the bride will wail and complain as if the bride is being wed against her will. He’ll say things like “but I don’t want to marry him; he’s poor and ugly!” or “I wish I could marry this other man instead! He has land and he’s better looking!” Some of the people watching might chime in and say similar things about the groom, but it’s all in jest.

Much of the community is involved in the ceremonies as well. Before the couple is married, the parents of the groom will go to the bride’s house and test her to see if she can do all of the tasks expected of her, like cooking and sewing. They might instruct her in how to prepare the groom’s favorite food, for example. The groom and those close to him, like the best man or his godparents, are fed a meal at the home of the bride, but they must be careful not to eat too much, because the next stop is the groom’s house, where they are fed again. The whole wedding party helps the bride’s family take the wedding gift of food and cooking supplies in large baskets to their new home. Many people in the community are involved in moving the newlyweds and all of their belongings into their new home; even the dogs might run alongside!

Emo means ‘each other’ and chupak means ‘completed, finished’, so this expression that mean s They got married could literally be translated as They completed each other.

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