Friday, January 16, 2009

A Pictorial Marriage Primer

The world and its many cultures, past and present, lack surely not for motley matrimonial rites and traditions. In my opinion, among the most charming are those of Fribourg, Switzerland, where the facts of conjugal life are made patent, and portions of liquid courage available, to newlyweds-to-be before they cross the threshold of Fribourg's St. Nicholas Cathedral. Here are pictures:

Fribourg's St. Nicholas Cathedral , built in 1490.

In front of the cathedral is the Rue des Epouses / Hochzeitergasse, the Street of Spouses-to-be, where brides and grooms waited before entering the cathedral to get married. There is a brewery in the alley, which would have afforded the spouses-to-be liquid courage, with which to dispel any apprehensions.

In the Rue des Epouses, there's an arch, the front side of which is adorned by a French rhyme.

"Voice la rue des epouses fidèles,
et aussi le coin des maris modèles."

"Here's the road of faithful wives,
and also the corner of exemplary husbands."

On the other side of the arch the facts of (harmonious) married life are explained to grooms-to-be in a rhyme in the Swiss-German dialect.

"Hüt! Freu di, Hochzitter, Du guete Ma,
Morn het am End d'frau scho dini Hosa a!"

"Today! Bridegroom enjoy yourself, you good man;
by the end of tomorrow the wife shall wear your pants."

A historical curiosity for which Fribourg is noted is that as late as the 1960s, it had more than 100 monasteries and convents within its city limits where some, who felt they were not called to married life, resided.

1 comment:

Fitzhamilton said...

I come from eating dinner tonight just down the street - less than 50 yards - from that arch.

Deux pressions (Cardinal, la biere fribourgoise) et de la bouef "americane" (pas vraiment, de New Zealand, en fait) avec riz et legumes.. ah, on peut manger plutot bien parmi les suisses..

You know, I've lived here in Fribourg for well over a year and a half all told, and visit nearly every year that I'm away, and never realized what that arch was. I've seen it, passing from the hotel de ville to the cathedral, but never noticed what it *was* .. Thanks for that tip.

A little extra trivia about all those religious orders: they mostly fled France after the Revolution, and have been established here ever since. It's tough to find a ugly place to go to mass at here.

I'm keeping a spotty blog about
my life and times here, you can visit via my profile, if you're interested.

Thanks again, for your insight..