The Jewish wedding is a real Simcha – a joyful occasion – and it is even considered a mitzvah for the guests to add even more joy to the happiness of the bride and groom on their wedding day. Since the earliest of times, the Jewish people have celebrated special moments in song and dance, and Jewish weddings are no exception.
Jewish Circle Dancing and the Hora
No Jewish wedding is complete without the Hora, this generally comprises a medley of popular Jewish tunes, including Hava Nagila (‘come let us be glad’), and Siman Tov U Mazleltov (‘may good luck come to us’). During the circle dancing, some of the stronger guests lift the bride and groom up on chairs (or even together on a table), high above the crowd. This is sometimes called the Wedding Chair Dance. Friends and family dance around in an ecstatic circle as the bride and groom try not to look (or fall) down.
Entertaining the bride and groom on their wedding day is not only a mitzvah (good deed) but it is also considered an obligation. At traditional Jewish weddings, the couple is seated on chairs and guests dance before them with masks, silly costumes, and props. Don’t be surprised if you will find in this part of the dancing bottle dancers, flame eaters, jugglers and unicyclers. In some circles, this is part of the “shtick”.
Mezinke Tanz OR Krenzel
The Mezinke Tanz is one of the concluding dances of the night and the purpose of this dance is now to honor the parents who have married off their last child. The proud (and relieved) parents sit on chairs in the middle of the dance floor while friends and family dance around, kissing them as they pass in front. The dance is also known as Krenzel (Yiddish for “crown”), this is because a crown of flowers is traditionally placed in the mother’s hair during the dance.
What was the most unforgettable part of Jewish wedding dancing that you experienced?