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Since weddings are meant to bring families together the unity of the community as a whole is catered for and this can be advantageous. This culture will also ensure that the customs and traditions are retained and covered from erosion by other cultures, this is because the arrangements will ensure that only individuals with similar backgrounds are brought together and no new cultures are incorporated. To someone who does not admire the African culture this may not sound positive but I am sure to the owners of the culture this is a very big boost to them.
Now looking at the Australian cultural wedding very little seems strange but is totally different to the African ceremony. I feel that the Australian cultural wedding is more 'liberal' in nature as compared to the African wedding. This is because the weddings are based on love and agreement between two individuals. This gives me the impression that the Australian culture has respect for the feelings of the individuals and their right of choosing whom to wed. This to me is an aspect that allows individuals to wed people they feel they know very well and are comfortable to stay with in marriage. In addition, the Australian cultural weddings are not necessarily formal and need not be done at specific places such as churches or mosques. What this means is that every person has a choice of having a formal or informal ceremony going by the preferences and capability, thus both the poor and the rich are in a comfort zone and it all depends on the arrangement of the couples. Even though the families are involved they only come in at the stage of the ceremony itself and maybe advisory role. Since the families do not dictate who their child should marry the individuals have a chance from choosing a partner from any culture that they feel comfortable with without meeting any objections. This gives some cultures a chance to penetrate into the native culture and this may be an advantage, though at times it could work to the negative.
However, too much liberalism as one exhibited in this Australian culture may not be very good. In most cases when individuals are given the right to choose they end up refusing even to be directed on what is right for them. Individuals can therefore choose to ignore the advise from family on how to get a right partner and may end up bonding with a wrong partner. This is a situation that has contributed to high cases of divorce and separation of couples. This happens because partners usually realize that they married the wrong person when they are already into it and in most cases will not give family a chance to help them solve their differences. When it comes to the wedding ceremony itself an individual may also choose to have a very extravagant ceremony that could be a burden to the family, but since there are no clear guidelines on how the ceremony should be conducted it may be difficult to direct the couples.
The cognitive process
In the case of analyzing these two cultural weddings the cognitive process that played a role is what Gardner (1985) refers to as schemata. He describes schemata as "abstract cognitive structures developed from previous experiences." This simply implies the way in which an individual organizes the information with which he or she comes into contact with. Once an individual experiences something it becomes part of their schemata with respect to that particular subject. The schemata is updated and modified as we encounter new experiences in our environment. With reference to my situation, I had been exposed to the American wedding ceremonies which are quite extravagant incorporating the finest food and drinks that can be bought. In these weddings the couples are in love and agree to wed each other, American weddings are also conducted in particular venues such as churches, mosques and such other places. My schema for weddings therefore included some idea of an elaborate, formal ceremony with incredibly expensive catering. Therefore when I research on the Australian cultural weddings there were certain aspects that differed from my previous schema for weddings, this made it necessary for me to update my notions on the basis of my experience. This is why I view the Australian cultural weddings to be too casual and the venues being unusual. My view of weddings changed to that of general ceremonies of a couple's nuptials with the couples determining how elaborate the wedding ceremony should be. Further research into the African cultural weddings brought about a totally contradicting notion of weddings and I therefore have to refine my schema more to include the new details. I now recognize the fact that wedding ceremonies are not only a concern for the families but for the communities as well. With all these in my schema, I eventually expect certain things at a wedding due to the fact that they are present at most weddings I have researched on. Therefore, whenever I am asked about weddings I will activate existing schemata regarding weddings.
I would describe my attitude towards the two different cultural weddings as negative towards the African culture and positive towards the Australian culture. This I say because of the impression I displayed towards each, I approached the African culture with a lot of criticisms with little appreciation to its features. On the other hand I identified with most of the features and contradicting just a few. I believe the attitude I portrayed would be similar to those of others with whom we share the same background and live in the same area. This I say because when you share the same background and live in the same area then your experiences are usually the same. Therefore when there is any foreign idea or culture then the reaction is expected to be the same (Markman and Maddox, 2003). This would however not be the same where the other individual does not share the same culture with you since what may be strange to you may be totally familiar to the other.
I think my attitude took that direction because of the extent to which each culture differed from my own culture. When one meets a situation that is completely different with his or hers and which seems less superior the tendency would be that he or she will support his or her own culture. This was the case when I found out about the African cultural weddings which have a great difference with the culture that I have been all familiar with. The feeling I had for the African wedding culture is that it is extreme in nature especially on the issue of choosing partners for individuals. To me it is an aspect that is extreme in nature and I consider it unacceptable thus the negative attitude that I might have displayed. This was a bit different with the Australian weddings culture which is almost similar to the culture that I am familiar with, therefore as expected I would easily identify with it. The Australian weddings culture borrow a lot from the western cultures thus did not come as a shocker to me.
Africaguide.com (2011). Africa people & culture, accessed on November 25, 2011 from http://www.africaguide.com/culture/weddings.htm
Euroevents & Travel (2004). Wedding Traditions and Customs around the World Bridal
Customs in different Countries accessed on November 25, 2011 from http://www.worldweddingtraditions.com/
Gardner, H. (1985). The mind's new science. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers.
Markman, A.B., & Maddox, W.T. (2003). Classification of exemplars with single- and multiple-feature manifestations: The effects of relevant dimension variation and category structure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29(1), 107-117.
Yamauchi, T., et al. (2002). Learning nonlinearly separable categories by inference and classification. Journal of Experimental…[continue]
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