Tuesday Photo Challenge – Memories

….thanks to Frank over at Dutch Goes the Photo for hosting Tuesday Photo Challenge

I know I’m a bit late for this week’s challenge but better late than never. I particularly liked this week’s theme because it’s so open ended. So I went back a year ago to see what memories I could stir up.

A year ago I spent quite a bit of time with my Dad (the oldest member of our family) and my granddaughter (the youngest member of our family). My Dad and the family attended a wonderful wedding together, the two of us went to the Royal Winter Fair and I accompanied Winnie to the park, lunch at a restaurant and the Hamilton Santa Claus Parade.P1050241
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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Any Kind of Photographer or Camera

….thanks Cee for hosting the Fun Foto Challenge

Sometimes the challenge is going back far into the archives to find photos to match the theme. This time I had to scroll through thousands of photos over a two year period to find what I wanted. I really need a better system to organize my photos.

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Share Your World – November 6, 2017

….thanks Cee for hosting Share Your World

Would you rather take a 2 week vacation with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice?

Sometimes I think I would like a two week vacation with an organized tour, especially in an exotic place where I don’t know the language. China and India come to mind. On the other hand, I’m far too spontaneous and I’m somewhat adventurous and I think I’d like to organize some of my itinerary. I see benefits to both ways of travelling.

Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swing?

I did like swings but I was wary of going too high. I still get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see children soar to the max.

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What is the most important thing that you ever learned ? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school)

In my 20s I learned that not everyone will like you and often the reasons are not clear. The hardest part is to except it and get on with your life. Focus on those who love you and don’t try to change for people who don’t.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Last week I went to a wedding and met up with old friends of the family. When we first came to Canada my parents knew few people but my father’s good friend and his wife, along with their 4 year old son arrived before us. As their family and ours grew we were almost like cousins. Carlo was my godfather and my father was godfather to their third boy.  In my family there were three girls and they had four boys.  On  the weekend the second son’s youngest boy married and we were invited. Everyone still calls my Dad, Onkel Heinz and they were thrilled to be able to finally introduce their children to us. It was so nice to put faces to all the names we’ve heard over the years.

The next day we celebrated my oldest daughter’s birthday. It was actually the day before but because of the wedding we delayed the celebration by a day. We met at Barque’s for brunch and then went back to Andrea’s and Josie’s place for cake.

On Monday my 91 year old father wanted relive some memories of his past by visiting the Royal Winter Fair. As a boy he grew up next to a farm and helped tend to some of the animals. Last year I went there with my youngest daughter, Gaelan and her daughter Winnie who was only one at the time.

It was wonderful seeing the joy my father got out of such a simple excursion. We started off watching the horse jumping competition and then walked through the barns where we saw cattle, sheep and pigs. We strolled amongst the prize winning vegetables and fruits and then we went to the food court and had some lunch.

After a meal of fish and chips we headed towards the President’s Choice Theatre to watch the Super Dogs show. We arrived a bit early so we also took in the Medieval Times presentation. My dad loved both shows and was so impressed that he felt that it should have been televised. I explained to him that the Royal wants you to go there. If it was on TV people wouldn’t need to attend.

A Persian Wedding in Assisi

….the highlight of our trip to Italy was our son’s wedding to his beautiful Iranian bride

Talk about a destination wedding. What do you do when half your family lives in Canada and the other half in Germany and Iran and your friends come from all over (Canada, England, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, etc.)? You find a location that everyone is happy to travel to and won’t break the bank.

That perfect place was at Casa Rosa near Assisi. Az and B already had a connection to the place through a friend whose family owned the ‘farm’. It is actually located in the hills of Umbria about 10 kilometres away from downtown Assisi.

On the day of the wedding the family was very busy getting the spread called the “Sofreh-ye Aghd”ready for the ceremony. Traditionally the Sofreh-ye Aghd is set on the floor facing east, so when the bride and bridegroom are seated at the head of the Sofreh-ye Aghd they will be facing “The Light”.

On the cloth, the two most important elements are the mirror and the two candelabras on either side of the mirror. They represent the bride and groom and the brightness in their future. All the different foods on the cloth are symbolic. For example, the tray of seven multi-colored herbs and spices “Sini-ye Aatel-O-Baatel” guard the couple and their lives together against the evil eye, witchcraft and drive away evil spirits. The eggs and decorated almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell symbolize fertility. A bowl made out of crystallized sugar “Kaas-e Nabaat/Shaakh-e Nabaat” sweetens the life of the newly weds and a bowl of gold coins or money represents wealth and prosperity. its-all-symbols_27904572193_o
At the beginning of the ceremony the bride is hidden from the groom. In our case a group of women, friends and family, stood in front of Az while B (our son) sat on a bench in front of the Sofreh-ye Aghd facing the mirror. He lit the candelabras and was asked if he consents to marry the bride. In a loud voice he answered with a rousing yes. When the bride enters she sits on the groom’s left side and the wedding party holds a canopy over the couple’s heads.

This is where the fun begins. Az’s uncle was the officiant and when he asked her if she consented to marrying B her role is to make the guests and the groom uncomfortable by not answering the first time. Some of her friends then call out that she’s doing the laundry as an excuse. The same thing happens the second time she is asked. The officient asks a third time, and this time, the bride says ‘with the permission of my father and mother- balé!’ And everyone starts kelling (the loud lee-lee-lee-lee sounds all middle easterners make) and clapping in joy.

Az’s uncle did a great job explaining all the rituals and symbolism of this ceremony. One other interesting symbol is the needle and the seven coloured threads used to hold up the canopy or shawl above the couple. Figuratively it represents sewing up the mother-in-law’s lips to keep her from speaking unpleasant words to the bride! As you can imagine I got quite a bit of ribbing about that one.

After the bride and groom have consented to marrying each other, the groom picks up a jar of honey (asal) from the table. He dips his little finger into the jar of honey, and feeds it to his bride. She then does the same for him. This is to symbolize that they will feed each other sweetness and sustenance throughout their lives together.

In this ceremony Az took her shoe at the end and snuffed out all the candles. I can’t remember what that symbolized and I can’t find anything on line to explain it. Maybe some of my Persian readers could bring me up to date on this tradition.

As in western cultures the ceremony ended with the groom kissing his bride.

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After congratulations were bestowed upon the newly married couple the guests and the wedding party made their way to grounds where tables of food and drink were set and photographers were busy snapping hundreds of photos.

The food at this wedding was amazing. Our son kept telling us to leave some room for dinner. The first round of food immediately following the ceremony were just appetizers and cocktails. I can’t even begin to explain or describe how much food there was and everything was so delicious. When dinner was served there were five more courses and dessert was served later. I never made it to dessert. In fact I never made it to the party. After dinner I was done and went to bed. In hind sight it was a dumb thing to do because I couldn’t sleep anyway. Between not feeling well from too much rich food and the noise from the party afterwards, sleep was impossible. The party went till 4:00 in the morning. Somehow I managed to fall asleep around 3:00. All in all it was a great day, one that I will never forget.

In the Hills of Assisi

….my favourite part of my trip to Italy took place in Assisi

Part 1

I’ve saved the best part of my trip for last. As some of you know my son was married this summer. The family part of the wedding took place in the hills of Assisi. In June, B and A were officially married in the registrars office in London, England and the guests that  attended were mostly friends and work colleagues who lived in England.

In July friends from Canada, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy and family from Canada, Germany and Iran came together to celebrate the union of our son and his beautiful bride in a traditional Persian ceremony.

The family stayed in a beautiful hillside resort, Casa Rosa, above the town of Assisi. Originally all the cottages had been farm buildings. The cottage we stayed in was formerly the pig barn and then later the horse stables. The view from our patio was breath taking and the property was surrounded by olive groves, lavender, fruit trees and rosemary.

Our accommodations were very comfortable and you would never have known that some of the cottages previously housed farm animals. We were warned to watch out for scorpions, yellow spiders and asps but we didn’t encounter any of these creatures. We kept looking over the hills in hopes of seeing some wild boars but we didn’t see any them either.

We took a walk along some of the trails that surrounded the farm. The trip out was pretty easy because it was mostly downhill but returning was a little more challenging. We passed numerous pieces of abandoned farm equipment along the way.

On our first evening in Assisi we took a taxi ride into the town of Assisi and had a wonderful meal on the patio of a local restaurant. It was our first real introduction to the family of the bride. We pretty much took over the restaurant for the evening. I tried to take photos of all the entrees that were placed before us but sometimes they were so mouth watering that half the plate was eaten before I remembered about taking photos. All in all it was a great evening and a good start to the wedding festivities that followed the next day.

More about the Persian ceremony in a few days.

Ciao!