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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Or some other like them Abra vind la puerta Snr


[173] On their return from church, the bride is seated at one extremity of a room, with the unmarried girls by her; the bridegroom on the right, and the father and mother, or those who perform their office, on the left. The male part of the company stand in the corners, singing, and playing on the guitar. About one o'clock, the oldest matron, accompanied by others advanced in years, conducts the bride into the bed-room, which, according to the custom of Spain, is usually a small chamber, without a window, opening into the general apartment. _Tune vetula, manu sud sponsae naturalibus admota membranam, vulvae ori oppositam unguibus scindit et cruorem a plaga fusum linteolo excipit._ The Gitanos without make a loud noise with their whistles, and the girls, striking the door, sing the following couplets, or some other like them:

"Abra vind la puerta Snr. Joaquin Que le voy a vind a poner un panuelito En las manos que tienen que llorar Toditas las callis."

The bride then returns from the chamber, accompanied by the matrons, and the new-married couple are placed upon a table, where the bride dances, _et coram astantibus linteolum, internerati pudoris indicium explicat_; whilst the company, throwing down their presents of sweetmeats, &c., dance and cry, "Viva la honra."--_Bright, on the Spanish Gipsy marriage._

Before the marriage festival begins, four matrons--relations of the contracting parties--are appointed to scrutinize the bride; in which a handkerchief, of the finest French cambric, takes a leading part. Should she prove frail, she will likely be made away with, in a way that will leave no trace behind. In carrying out some marriage festivals, a procession will take place, led by some vile-looking fellow, bearing, on the end of a long pole, the _dicle_ and unspotted handkerchief; followed by the betrothed and their nearest friends, and a rabble of Gipsies, shouting and firing, and barking of dogs. On arriving at the church, the pole, with its triumphant colours, is stuck into the ground, with a loud huzza; while the train defile, on either side, into the church. On returning home, the same takes place. Then follows the most ludicrous and wasteful kind of revelling, which often leaves the bridegroom a beggar for life.--_Borrow, on the Spanish Gipsy marriage._--ED.

These matters being settled on the spot, the wedded pair rise from the marriage-bed, again dress themselves in their finest apparel, and again join the wedding-party. The joy and happiness on all sides is now excessive. There is nothing to be heard or seen but fiddling and piping, dancing, feasting and drinking, which are kept up, with the utmost spirit and hilarity imaginable, for many hours together.[174]

/# [174] The part of the marriage ceremony of the Gipsies which relates to the chastity of the bride has a great resemblance to a part of the nuptial rites of the Russians, and the Christians of St. John, in Mesopotamia and Chaldea. Dr. Hurd says: "When a new-married couple in Russia retire to the nuptial bed, an old domestic servant stands sentinel at the chamber-door. Some travellers tell us that this old servant, as soon as it is proper, attends nearer the bedside, to be informed of what happens. Upon the husband's declaration of his success and satisfaction, the kettle-drums and trumpets proclaim the joyful news." Among the Christians of St. John, as soon as the marriage is consummated, "both parties wait upon the bishop, and the husband deposes before him that he found his wife a virgin; and then the bishop marries them, puts several rings on their fingers, and baptizes them again. . . . A marriage with one who is discovered to have lost her honour beforehand but very seldom, if ever, holds good." #/


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