You might think that weddings in a place called Azerbaijan have just got to be interesting events. And when you go to an Azeri wedding for the first time, you’re right. Colin actually found this excellent video of an Azeri wedding in Baku. While its not necessarily the typical Azeri wedding, it manages to capture two very important concepts within Azeri culture: crazy wedding parties and universal appreciation for Michael Jackson.
The word for wedding in Azeri is “toy.” Toys are pretty raucous events, and they are incredibly frequent. Any given day, we’ll be passed by 2-4 wedding parties, honking horns, playing music, led by a car which has a camera crew in its trunk to record the whole thing. They end up at the wedding hall (of which there is no shortage in my city, Sumgayit) and the celebration starts at about 5 or 6pm.
I had the distinct pleasure in early October to go to my host-dad’s friend’s daughter’s wedding. I didn’t realize how close a friend he was until I found myself at the table which was next to the bride and groom’s table. There’s a lot of dancing going on, and they made me dance, and then told me I was a good dancer–at which point I knew they were good liars. It was fun while it lasted though. If I can get some videos up, I’ll post those for you so you can see how ridiculously fast Azeri men can move their feet! (Cultural Note: the bride is most definitely not supposed to smile during photos, because then it would look like she is happy to leave her family. This reminds me of the poster of the eagle that says “I am smiling”)