Koreans are known to wear a lot of black and I used to be one of them. I still love black, don’t get me wrong, but I appreciate colors a lot more than before- that is, before I moved to Africa for work.
Liberia is a country in West Africa, hot year-round with rainy and dry seasons. Women wear dresses made of “lapas”- waxy fabric largely made in the Netherlands or China then imported- and they are mostly colorful. I loved getting lapas at the market, taking it to my favorite tailor and getting stuff made out of them. So old school. It was a form of shopping where no real shopping was available, and also got my creative juices flowing in ways I had never experienced- I had never picked out fabric and designed my own dress! An example is below – though this is not a picture of myself…
Wedding planning is well underway for our wedding next year and colors have been a part of planning in big and small ways. Today, I visited a quilt shop with my future mother-in-law to pick out fabric for the Chuppah cover she will be quilting. Chuppah is a four-cornered canopy under which Jewish wedding ceremony takes place. The word chuppah means covering or protection, and is intended as a roof or covering for the bride and groom at their wedding. Chuppah in a tapastery form dates back to sixteenth century, and supposedly symbolizes the home of the groom that the bride will enter. In modern days, more Jews interpret Chuppah as a home that the bride and groom will establish together. The concept of chuppah as a halakhic term dates back to the Torah and Talmud.
In any case, quilting a chuppah cover is quite an undertaking and not typically “Jewish.” Historically, quilting has not been a big part of a Jewish living, apparently because when Eastern European Jews first moved to the US, the community didn’t have a wide exposure to quilting. Others also defer that Eastern European Jews were more used to using goose down blankets based on their history in poultry farming, and did not see the need for quilting. Well, my future mother-in-law is the exception. We chose purple and green as a theme, in triple Irish chains. Now she will spend countless hours cutting them into small pieces and sowing them back together, and I am infinitely grateful that she is supporting our union by physically building the chuppah cover in purple. We are envisioning something like the picture above in purple.
Wedding brings out desires and opinions in everyone involved, and my mother has been in search of colors for different reasons. Koreans wear a traditional dress, called Hanbok, to weddings and other important events. The outfit consists of top and a bottom, and the top has wide sleeves with a ribbon in the middle. The bottom is extremely generous, which was comfortable for women working in the kitchen back in the day. No one in Korea currently ever wears it other than for these special events, and my mother is super excited to get one made for this occasion, and also gift one for my future mother-in-law. Many Korean mothers would wear matching ones- generally with the same color bottom, and contrasting tops, like blue tone for the guy’s mother, and red tone for the girl’s mother. After much back and forth, my mother decided on a gold skirt with blue and coral tops.
The brighter, the merrier. I am excited for the colors, the fun we are going to have, and most importantly, the melange of two families, across different languages and cultures. If there is color of happiness, it would have all of the above.