Long Beach

“Sacred Space”: Pandemic restrictions prevented religious weddings, but could not be stopped. – Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California 2021-06-14 15:45:24 –

Nitasha and Jarpen Patel during their wedding at the Gayatri Consciousness Center in Anaheim. Photo by Stacy Adams.

When Nitasha and Jarpen Patel began planning their wedding in January 2020, they turned to celebrating in Gujarat, the family’s hometown on the northwest coast of India. As traditional in Hindu weddings, it was going to be a major event, with about 1,500 guests attending.

But like many other couples, when the coronavirus swept the world just a few months later, Patels had to make major changes to their plans.

Rituals are usually several-day events that include ceremonies performed by uncles, aunts, and other relatives to celebrate the union of the two families, and some are toned down because not all families can attend. I needed to.

“We couldn’t do all the rituals we usually do at weddings in India,” Patel said. “We needed to reduce it. Basically everything was done in half a day.”

Marriage is an important part of life for believers of many religions and is celebrated and licensed by their religious institutions. Churches, temples and synagogues needed to be coordinated during the pandemic. Therefore, there are also religious couples. Still, for some, religious weddings were indisputable.

Sam Christie, Business Manager of the St. Barnabas Catholic Church in California Heights, said:

Weddings are not an important source of income for the church, but Christie said that weddings play an important role in the spiritual journey of church members. “You are expected to follow Catholic rituals and all the rules and all the sacraments as part of being Catholic. Marriage in the church is one of them,” he said.

But until recently, couples wishing to marry in church had to marry in an outdoor tent set up after the state’s public health department announced guidelines for opening a place of worship on July 29, 2020. This is not an ideal environment for a mental environment. Milestone, said the church minister.

“As a priest, it is important for me to have a wedding in the sanctuary of the church because it creates a sacred space,” said Father Antony Gaspar.

Now that weddings inside the church are possible again, wedding requests are starting to increase. The church also offers a blessing, a paraphrase of the church vow, that allows couples to have a wedding in the church that was rejected during the pandemic.

“They feel holiness and a sense of holiness in the church,” Gaspar said. “That solemnity was robbed in the tent.”

In Jewish belief, weddings are generally held outside the sacred space of the synagogue.

Rabbid Canter of Temple Beth Shalom of Bix Beanors said wedding requests were always rare in his small congregation and he had never received a request for a post-pandemic ceremony.

But anecdotally, Mr. Canter said he heard of a couple who adjusted the spiritual part of the wedding as a result of the pandemic.

“Some people have delayed their wedding. Some people have now chosen to have a mundane wedding,” he said. “Life goes on, but public celebrations are on hold.”

Jewish faith abolished the priesthood thousands of years ago. That is, Rabbi does not need to sanction their union in order for them to marry. However, most couples choose to present rabbis to guide them through the ceremony, Canter said.

“I’m just there to make sure they get married correctly,” Canter said of the role of the rabbi in the Jewish wedding. “And I give them a little bit of their lines,” he added with a laugh.

Still, Mr. Canter said he enjoyed having a wedding and witnessing a union formed between two members of the faith. As a conservative rabbi, Cantor holds weddings only for couples whose both partners are Jewish.

“Everyone is happy at the wedding,” he said. “It’s not just a deal. They are best friends in life.”

For Nitasha and Jarpen Patel, celebrating their union under the guidance of a priestly ritual was indisputable, despite the many hurdles they faced when planning their wedding.

“The temple I usually go to didn’t allow ceremonies, so I had to find one that allowed ceremonies,” said Nitasha Patel.

“We always wanted traditional Hindu rituals, which we felt really united,” she added. “By doing that in the temple, we knew that God was there.”

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