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Thread: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

  1. #41
    Christian,Mom,Teacher mom2's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    I am not Catholic, so I'm not sure if this being filmed in the United Kingdom makes a difference? Are there different rules/procedures there? I mean no disrespect, this comes from ignorance of the rites and major events in Catholicism.

    Ready for a new episode tonight !
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  2. #42
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiz View Post
    Tilden, thank you so much for sharing your research. I'm also astounded at some of the questions that you've raised, because I was wondering about as well. I didn't write it my last post, but I was also curious about Travellers becoming nuns or priests and if it was acceptable in their culture. It sounds like they've historically not only lived on the fringe of society but also on the fringe of the church as well. As they begin to settle in one place, partially due to laws that make it hard for them to lead a nomadic lifestyle, I wonder if they'll begin to conform. The women really don't have anywhere to go, except maybe back to their parents, if they are in an abusive relationship, let alone if they've made a bad choice in choosing a lifelong mate at such an young age. They have very little education, and are not allowed to work outside the home the day they're married. Like you said, it's nice to say that the community would deal it, but it seems frightfully patriarchal, and the men are proudly violent in nature. Which reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the mom said the dad was the "head" of the house, but she was the "neck", so maybe the men aren't as in charge as they might think. Speaking of the clothes the women wore to church, if you watch Real Housewives of NJ, you would have seen some rather risqué dresses on the women at a child's baptism. They weren't to the degree of the young girls on this show, but they were better suited, and wouldn't have raised an eyebrow, for a nightclub rather than religious ceremony. My husband comes from an Italian Catholic family, and I've never seen anything like it in real life. Which makes me wonder how much of this show is for shock value, and that they picked specific families that are somewhat out of the norm. (I did need to make a correction to my last post but it's past my edit time. Not that it matters, but I meant to say we became Lutheran just prior to time for first communion classes with my oldest child. My children were baptized in the Catholic church. We're also in the ELCA.)

    I don't know that I'd call it research. All I did was a little on-line searching, and I happened to get lucky. I also just thought it was silly of me to keep asking questions without at least attempting to find the answers for myself. I didn't see anything about priests or nuns, but I know many orders now prefer that people wait until they're through college before considering them as candidates for the seminary or convent. I know it sounds a bit mercenary, but they were losing tremendous amounts of money financing young people's educations only to have them decide to leave their orders, because they'd found themselves unsuited to the life after all. Most people assume the Church finances the convents etc., but the fact is, they're expected to be self-sufficient, and with the average age of sisters/brothers/priests getting older every year, they have to watch their budgets just like everyone else. Since the Travelers don't put a lot of emphasis on formal education, I imagine the seminary or the convent might be problematic for them. Certainly the Benedictine order that ran the college I attended had been active in education, nursing, and social work for many generations. You can't make it in any of those fields without years of formal education.

    Since one of my other questions was how the Travelers would deal with the issue of homosexuality, I went looking for information on that too and found an interesting article by someone named Henry McKean, who had done a documentary called The Truth About Travelers and had lived with Irish Travelers while doing his documentary. He was pretty upfront about the fact that while some Travelers were welcoming, others were not. He also mentioned that the over-the-top weddings and mini-brides were a fairly new development and that traditional mass goers were definitely unhappy at a first communion he attended where some of the female guests were dressed provocatively and talking on their cell phones during the service (truthfully, that would have driven me nuts too--unless you're someone like an obstetrician with patients who might need you on a moment's notice, turn off your stupid phone in church/temple). As for the issue of homosexuality, he said most LGBT travelers faced particular discrimination, starting within their own community. Most LGBT travelers are pretty much forced to leave their families/communities and are not welcomed back. They're also far more likely to be abused, suffer from depression, and consider suicide. The problems they face are prevalent enough that there are now support groups beyond the community specifically for them.

    As for the issue of spousal abuse, McKean said it simply isn't discussed, and there aren't very many options open to women whose husbands abuse them, partially because of their lack of education. For the travelers who live in caravans, as opposed to settled travelers, it's relatively rare for girls to go beyond the eighth grade or so and literacy can still be a problem within the culture. Part of the reason there's less of an interest in seeing the girls get more of an education is that they're fearful that their teenage girls may become involved in premarital sex and/or get into a serious relationship with a non-traveler boy if they stay in school.

  3. #43
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    The impression they were giving was that every girl wanted her own specially designed dress, but I don't know whether that's accurate or not.
    I can't remember if it was the first or second episode, but the woman featured as the go-to dress designer for Traveler weddings talked about the girls bringing her pictures they'd drawn illustrating the design of the dress they wanted. She showed some of these drawings and they all looked like a young girl's fantasy dress. She said some of the designs were just not possible to make. At least for some of the girls, it's about having their custom designed dress.

    OTOH, when Paddy talked about his marriage over 30 years ago and showed their wedding photos, he said his wife wore a borrowed gown because they couldn't afford to buy one. It was a typical style of that time and very modest. I think the extravaganza gowns are a more recent phenomenon, so they probably don't have generations of gigantic gowns to store. And I think it's possible there is some dismantling and using the parts of the gowns, especially if the oldest daughter has the first extravaganza, then the younger sisters have it restyled for themselves. There is so much material in those gowns, the possibilities for different looks are endless!

  4. #44
    Vidiot 13 is a Winner Champion Poppy Fields's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    The Travelers are members of the Old Catholic church which was started in the United States and Europe in 1879, in a departure of clergy from the Roman rite church after the 1st Vatican Council. The Old Catholic rite is recognized by the Roman rite church, and it's ordinations are considered valid as well as all of its other sacraments. I do not know if there are orders of nuns associated with the Old Catholic Church. I assume that they have seminaries, though, since they ordain priests.

    There are several recognized rites of the Catholic church (apart from this one, the Roman one and the Byzantine one).
    Last edited by Poppy Fields; 06-10-2011 at 10:11 PM.
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  5. #45
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy Fields View Post
    The Travelers are members of the Old Catholic church which was started in the United States and Europe in 1879, in a departure of clergy from the Roman rite church after the 1st Vatican Council. The Old Catholic rite is recognized by the Roman rite church, and it's ordinations are considered valid as well as all of its other sacraments. I do not know if there are orders of nuns associated with the Old Catholic Church. I assume that they have seminaries, though, since they ordain priests.

    There are several recognized rites of the Catholic church (apart from this one, the Roman one and the Byzantine one).
    I just checked. There are convents associated with the Old Catholic Church.

    There's also the American Catholic Church in the United States, which was founded in 1999, and is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

  6. #46
    FORT Fanatic Holly in SoCal's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    I'd really like to know how they pay for all this extravaganza. Like the episode tonight stated that the mother of the bride left her husband and was not allowed to re-marry and then on top of that, she has very bad arthritis in her hands, so you know she can't really work. And she has a bunch of kids. So who paid for that over the top wedding cake (supposedly one of the biggest ever) and the custom designed wedding gown for her daughter. I didn't see any indication of finances coming in. There seems to be very little shown in this show re: the men having well paying jobs or any real job at all, yet they spend lots of money on these dresses, events, etc. Even though they did show that guy Paddy working, even still, who can afford to have a new car every 6 months (and an expensive one to boot), unless you are Donald Trump? Maybe they are still practicing some of the scams they are known for.

    I'm still trying to figure out how come so many of the women have large boobs...I've never seen a community of so many well-endowed women. Even that 12 or 13 year old they showed tonight (sister of the bride) was pretty chesty. Very strange and not typical. And has anyone else noticed that alot of the girls look alike? They have very similar features, the same small mouth with the same kind of teeth with big eyes...makes you wonder if they inbreed or are very closely related.

    As far as how and do they keep their fancy dresses after they use them...maybe they "Spacebag" them for storing purposes. Just a thought....

  7. #47
    Kiz
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    I think I have end up having more questions with each episode.

    Why are the young girls taking complete care of the trailers and children? They girls are leaving school at 11 or 12, for the most part, although there are outliers who stay in school until they're 16 to take care of the home and family. Where are the moms, and what are they doing after the oldest girl reaches the ripe old age of 12 and can take over the running of the household? (The dads are supposedly working outside the home.) I also don't understand why the kids can't read or write if the girls are completing school to grades 6 or 7 and boys until grade 9. Obviously education takes a back seat, and I wouldn't expect these kids to be high level learners, but it seems these kids can't read/write beyond the basic level of a 2nd grader.

    I wondered why the church was basically empty at the wedding. That ended up being answered. Men generally on attend the reception (and they're late at that). It also appears that most of the community only arrives for the reception. The ceremony seems to be closest female relatives/friends only. I was surprised that the wedding party seemed to outnumber the guests until I saw the reception.

    Money spent...that is a good question. The divorced woman with arthritis seemed to have a much nicer home than many families with a working husband. The money that she spent on her daughter's wedding dress and cake had to be a small fortune. I would think England has a very generous welfare system for people with disabilities, but there has to be more to that story.

    Sadly, as we were mentioning earlier in the thread, they gave the statistic for domestic abuse at over 50%. Wives tend to blame themselves if they're victims of abuse. The girls are very uneducated. The men drink. Wives seldom have any opportunity to work outside the home. Divorce is practically forbidden. That's one heck of a vicious cycle.
    You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. ~Humbert

  8. #48
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    Holly, I had the same question about the mom who had left her abusive husband and raised the kids on her own. The narrator said the father was not involved in their lives, so how does a single mom who has no education afford to live in a nice house and pay for an expensive wedding?

    As for Paddy buying 2 cars a year, I don't believe he does that on whatever he earns managing the trailer park. In the first episode, Paddy says he doesn't allow anyone to bother the occupants of the trailer park, and he deals with the police if they come to the park. Methinks he may be getting more than just rental space fees, he's probably getting paid by his tenants for "protection" as well.

    Yet another groom's face was pixeled out in the latest episode, this time with the claim that he was concerned his "scrap metal" business would suffer if it were known he's a Traveler. There is a scarcity of adult men on camera for a reason. Most of the males shown are boys or teenagers. It's tough to run scams when you're recognized from being on TV.

  9. #49
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    I had a completely different question with regard to the single mother who divorced her abusive husband (and good for her for doing so and for her family for helping her). Her arthritis made me wonder about how their insistence on staying separate from outside society might affect Travelers' medical care. Apparently, they remain highly suspicious of medical "outsiders" and prefer to stick to family advice, traditional cures, or sheer stoicism. They also believe that routine screenings for things like cancer (mammograms etc.) work against hope and invite serious heath problems in by acknowledging them. Combine that with higher rates or smoking and alcohol consumption than in the rest of the populace, and Travelers typically have a shorter life expectancy than their non-Traveler contemporaries. They also suffer from more anxiety and more anxiety-triggered illnesses/conditions, and the women suffer more from that than the men do (big surprise, huh?). I guess prenatal care may not be all that great either, since their rates of miscarriage and still births are higher too.

    All that information comes from an on-line article written for health care providers about the difficulties in treating members of the Traveler community and what might be done to get past prejudices on both sides (the Travelers' suspicions about the medical community and the medical community's frustration with them because they don't understand how their cultural beliefs/history work against them trusting the medical community).

    I didn't quite understand why the eighteen year old was in charge of that household or why the fourteen year old now would be either, but did they ever mention a mother? Is it possible her father is a widower, there's no adult female in the family, and so the girls are expected to take on the maternal role? Of course, just because the single mother couldn't remarry after her divorce doesn't, I suppose, mean the men can't remarry, since there are such massive differences in the way men and women are treated. It drove me nuts that those teenage boys had the equivalent of a frat boy trailer that "Mommy" had to clean and provide food service for, while their female teenage equivalents were running entire households on their own.

    Oh, and the education issue was addressed a bit by that wedding dress designer who mentioned that truancy isn't handled the same way in the Traveler community as it is in the rest of the country. It's far easier for them to claim they're going to school elsewhere, because they've moved again, and no one bothers to check much, probably because it's so difficult to do so. Just because they're enrolled doesn't mean they're attending or that they're working at grade level. I wasn't sure those boys at the paintball park were so much illiterate as just uninterested in filling out forms, however, and since the culture allows men to dominate women, they just shoved the work off on the birthday girl. I liked her, by the way, and I hope she maintains that spunk and sense of independence.

    I have no idea about the finances, but I suppose they don't spend money on some things most people do--mortgages, college educations, medical care, life insurance--which would free up money to spend on things like huge wedding gowns. Their culture seems much more centered on living in the moment as opposed to saving for the future or long term investments.

  10. #50
    FORT Fan mina's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    All the couples are odd.... Maybe it's because of the cameras, but they don't seem to know each other well or have much emotion. It's a stoic wedding.

    Do the wives just clean all day? I mean I guess they have nothing else to do, since they can't go anywhere, but especially if they don't have children yet ; it's got to be a lonely life.

    I liked the girl with the single mom. She seemed more quiet and truly cared about her mother.

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