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Accepted Paper:

Swimming against the tide: re-constitution of marriage in the time of COVID-19  
Judit Balatonyi (University of Pécs)

Paper short abstract:

In my paper I am seeking to answer how and why Hungarian wedding service providers and marrying couples started to create, re-interpret and adapt old-new wedding traditions and rites in order to regulate and break the new restricting rules impacting weddings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paper long abstract:

Similar to many countries worldwide, the Hungarian government introduced various restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. For instance, the number of attendees at wedding ceremonies was limited (to close relatives), in some periods wedding ceremonies were strictly regulated and even banned. Reactions of couples and the wedding industry were diverse. While some people were swimming with the tide, others were rather swimming against it, that is, they were trying to manage and carry out, modify or suspend their wedding ideas by maneuvering between social structures or manipulating rules. This also implied disregard for recognized regulating structures and the aim to change or transform them.

Besides many other things, there was a common element in these strategies and practices: social actors aimed to adapt, interpret and transform old and new wedding patterns that derive in domestic and international, personal and family examples, ethnographic descriptions, different historical sources and contemporary practices. As a result, a great number of tiny but very intimate micro-weddings took place, and official wedding ceremonies and big wedding feasts were often organized on separate dates.

In my paper I will examine these intensive acts of searching for information, the process of selecting and constituting the wedding “tradition” (‘bricolage of tradition’) based on my digital anthropological research carried out in wedding-planning groups on Facebook, online questionnaires and in-depth interviews. I am seeking to answer how and why the old, new, popular, or irregular wedding practices were used by the social actors during the special circumstances of the pandemic.

Panel Perf03a
Old rituals, changing environments, new rules I [SIEF Working Group on The Ritual Year]
  Session 1 Tuesday 22 June, 2021, -