DAY 238: Palestinian weddings

January 21st, 2018 § 0 comments

I’m not as you expect going to go all political about this; my thoughts are naturally prompted by the fact that at St Pancras and a lot of churches up and down the

1082-the-marriage-at-cana-drawing-from-codex-5-a-15th-c-illuminated-bp26gmcountry Anglicans (and maybe others) have been commemmorating the real downer of a wedding which took place quite a while back at a place called Qana; where in 1996

Qana

the Israelis under one Naftali Bennett shelled the UN compound killing 108 civilians; but a) it’s not clear if among half a dozen places called Qana this is the site of the original wedding, b) I said I’d keep off politics. Anyway, this couple from Galilee turn up and the mum (I assume she was called Om Isa) is pretty rude as she points out that they’ve run out of wine – after all it’s not the hosts’ fault, it’s the guests. Her son Isa when she tells him is even worse, as he’s equally rude to Om Isa (‘Woman, what have I to do with thee?’). Om Isa ignores this unfilial behaviour and takes over the place, telling the servants to do whatever this boorish Wedding-at-CanaIsa tells them to do. Amazingly they do it and he produces some cheap Lebanese conjuring trick which results in gallons of high-quality Bekaa vino on the spot; the guests presumably are soon legless, the wedding is legendary.

Luckily a few hundred years later another prophet, Muhammad, comes along and, realising that this drinking at weddings is pretty irrelevant to the business of getting to heaven, bans it. Since when they’ve become a lot drier at Qana, although that hasn’t saved them from being bombed – but let’s not go back there.

What’s nice about this story, although the St Pancras folk didn’t seem to cotton on to it, is that it’s pretty useless going to the Bible for a guide to how to run weddings, or anything else; that’s not what it’s there for. Aside from not being, as Gershwin reminded us, necessarily reliable, that’s not the point. What the point is, if any, I leave you to work out for yourself. Here’s a little help from James Joyce.

The Ballad of Joking Jesus

I’m the queerest young fellow that ever you heard.
My mother’s a jew, my father’s a bird.
With Joseph the joiner I cannot agree.
So here’s to disciples and Calvary.

If anyone thinks that I amn’t divine
He’ll get no free drinks when I’m making the wine
But have to drink water and wish it were plain
That I make when the wine becomes water again.

Goodbye, now, goodbye! Write down all I said
And tell Tom, Dick and Harry I rose from the dead.
What’s bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly
And Olivet’s breezy — Goodbye, now, goodbye!

Jesus is known to have attended a baptism (his own), a wedding (the Qana affair) and, one has to assume, his own funeral though it would take someone more knowledgeable than me to answer the question of what he was doing during his funeral. (Harrowing hell?). Here, since we’ve ventured on the James Joyce trail, is the Dubliners’ recording of ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, which has a great deal to do with drink if nothing really with weddings.

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