“Blimey maybe they should think about fitting that church with a revolving door,” said the Englishman in front of me as we enjoyed a beer on the Stradun. It was one of the rare occasions in the summer months that I managed to scrap together a couple of fee hours for my wife and me. Unfortunately my wife is a little bit of a “summer widow.” She really doesn’t get to see much of me through the warmer months.
So there we were, although in the company of a couple of English friends, sitting on the Stradun. We probably sat for a total of two hours and in that time we watched four different wedding parties shuffle past us. OK, it was a Saturday, traditionally one of the busiest days for tying the knot in Dubrovnik, but four in two hours, blimey. As one group stood and had their photos taken on the steps of the St. Blaise Church another noisily entered the city and waited their turn.
At one point there were two wedding parties almost collided head on, one pouring out of the St. Blaise Church whilst the other was coming down from the cathedral. It was mayhem for a minute or so when guests got confused which direction and which bride and groom to follow. That is when the “revolving door” line came from my friend. One particular wedding caught my eye. The bride was quite clearly from India whilst the groom appeared to be Croatian. On closer inspection the groom was speaking a mixture of Croatian and English. “The groom is from Australia,” I was informed by one of the wedding photographers. Ah, so probably a second, or even third, generation Diaspora.
That idea became clearer as the older members of his family seemed to be speaking perfect Croatian. The bride, on the other hand, and her family quite clearly didn’t understand a word that was being spoken. I am not even sure that they understood what was going on around them. It was a real culture clash. A leather flask of rakija was handed around and the bride was expected to take a swig, to her praise she did, although the look on her face told the real story as to whether she actually enjoyed it.
Then, after the ceremony, the whole mixed marriage party spilled out onto the stone steps of the St. Blaise Church. No sooner had they entered into the open air the three-man band opened up full volume. Half of the wedding group joined in, the others looked around at each other. Another typical Croatian wedding classic boomed out. And once again the same story, although I did notice that the younger members of the Diaspora Australians were having problems keeping up with all the words. The Indian party had no idea what had hit them. They politely smiled and wiggled to the rhythm, but the lyrics flew over their heads. It was street entertainment.
We sat in Cele and ordered another beer, waiting for the second act. Of course the Croatian flags were being twirled around in the air. This brought a smile to our friends, “we don’t really have the habit the wave flags at weddings unless a member of the Royal Family is getting married,” he chuckled. But then from the direction of Pile came yet another wedding, blimey this one had more flags than the final of the World Cup! And right in the middle of the Croatian flags was two I recognized, the Stars and Stripes and the British Flag.
There must have been six Croatian flags surrounding the “foreign” colors. “How are there three different flags, unless the groom is marrying two brides at once,” asked my friend. He had a good point. The inevitable happened and the “multi-flag” wedding collided with the mixed Indian and Diaspora wedding. At one point it was a jumble of brides and grooms and flags, all accompanied by Croatian tunes from the band.
The two weddings untangled and although the Indians hadn’t managed to learn any of Croatian song lyrics the bride and groom seemed quite obviously overjoyed and deeply in love, after all love conquers all barriers.