Some time back, Ishtiba posted a question about mixed marriages on her blog.
As I felt personnally concerned by the issue I posted the following comment on her blog:
Avinash comes from a Hindu family (though he is an atheist/agnostic) and I myself come from a mixed background (my dad comes from China and is supposed to be a buddhist and he was forcefully baptised on his arrival in Mauritius but he’s basically an atheist; my mum comes from a muslim family but she chose on her own to convert to catholicism as an adult). I myself was raised into catholicism and used to attend mass every sunday until adulthood but now I’m also an atheist/agnostic.
We had a real mixed marriage with both a hindu priest and a catholic one officiating on the same platform with them alternating the use of the microphone; not two separate ceremonies which is usually the case in Mauritius. There was no competition but collaboration and I think that this was already a good starting point. I have heard that many people in fact have two different ceremonies on two different days so that none of the two ‘priests’ may know that there’s another ceremony being performed. How about calling that cheating???
Though all of this mixity appears a bit complicated and could have generated lots of problems, thankfully, this was not the case. And there’s a simple word that can explain why: ‘HUMANISM’. There’s only one race after all: humanity. Religion is just a packaging around humanity. It is a pity that many people stop only at the packaging level and never get through the different layers to the core. Similarly, marriage is just another packaging around the idea of relationship. And whether the marriage is mixed or not is not really the issue as lots of same-religion marriages fail as well (maybe even more). If a mixed marriage fails, I’m almost sure it would have failed anyway even if the two were of the same religion.
I sometimes feel that I may need to write down the story of my family but I never actually sat down to do it. Will probably do it little by little on this blog though…
To start off, I’ll just add for the time being that although none of us actually practise any religious rites of our own initiative, we still participate in all family rites and celebrations. We feel involved in all religious ceremonies and festivities, be it Divali, Spring Festival, Assumption, etc. And up to now we have never felt excluded or unwanted by any branch, probably because we are not afraid of actively engaging in the activities, being honest about not being believers but also being non-threatening in our approach to others’ convictions which we respect…
Mixed Heritage or Metissage is the term I like. As often in nature cross breeding enhances the subject, if it strengthens the positive and minimizes the negatives.I for one, looking back at my ancestry can claim French creole,and Chinese blood and is very proud of it.Apart from the genetic aspect,I am also proud of my cultural metissage: my mother born of the union of a china man,and a half mulatto and half Chinese. My mother was raised in an environment close to the Vadamotoo, the “madras baptise” we could say.My mother in her days lived a very hard poverty struck family managed to get a good education with the help of her neighbors the then wealthy “Madras” family who considered her as a sister. My mother later married the son of a well to do China man after much persuasion and numerous objections & refusals from my father’s parents. Considered as a mixed marriage by my father’s parents their union was not at all acceptable. There was not only racial differences. In the late 40’s there were concerns of social ranking, community peer pressures, economical consideration and reputation. If it was not for the perseverance and tenacity of my parents , my brothers & sisters And I would probably never found this world. Like you, I have the intention of writing more extensively on this subject, one of these days. In the final analysis, my parents had a very successful married life. My mother brought in my father’s family some other values and qualities which have enriched the more Chinese values. She had to learn the Chinese dialect to converse with her mother in law. On her death bed my grandma sought forgiveness for her opposition to the marriage and told every one that she had a most kind, considerable daughter in law. Success is always to result of drive, determination and efforts.
Lovely pic of Kyan n Anya…
The fact that u cme from a mixed background makes you feel more included when it concerns festivals.. there’s this belonging/appartenance to any community n u r more able to respect them…n dats great.
Often we want to fully participate in other’s festivals in Mauritius coz we are after all mauritians. but we feel sort of alienated and its awkward to be participating in such festivals when u r nt from “that” community..le regard de la societé mauricienne !!
Je me souviens qu’au college on fetait toutes les fetes entre amies…surtout les gato: Divali, fameux gato “la cire”, n sme i dnt even remember the names nw.. feeling nostalgic of my school days 🙁
Wiz friends we really feel this mixity, respecting each others convictions like u say, learning so much about the other cultures…
But as we grow up all this gradually disappear from our lives… n many of us start thinking along ethnic lines, more communalism, etc. Ce qui est dommage pour la societé mauricienne !
An example for the whole world!!!
I am sure most of us did not choose the religion we were born in, but we can choose not to let it interfere with and control our lives.
I admire the ‘setting’ of your family :).
Hopefully, I might someday have the same for mine, which is not for the near future though – and which is bound to be met by LOADS of obstacles, given that we leave in MAURITIUS *sighs*.
I am already going through them 😀 the looks on peoples’ face in public like they’ve just seen 2 aliens pass by them, the aliens being me and my gf – this is just a usual sight for me now – bring it on ‘lepep admirab’ 🙂
And oh, I wonder if you’ve been listening to Radio Plus’s latest weekly show, Talk of The Town, mainly dealing with our island’s taboos – got any views on it?
Today’s show was about communalism and religious extremists- and geared eventually about the ‘mixing’ of various religions. I am expecting them to have a show dedicated only to mixed marriages soon enough.
I thk I got some sort of mixed heritage…my ancestors.. my great-grand parents had a mixed mariage…
My mother’s family
Her grand-mother (Asha) was Tamil , who converted to Islam when marrying her grand-father. “shelamootoo” dnt kw if she was part of the baptised Tamils.. They both came from India. As for my grand-father he even knows the tamil language a bit. When i was younger thought he was making us laugh by talking strangely… Later on I found that he could really talk n understand Tamil 🙂
After some reflection, I thk we borrowed some rituals/traditions from Tamil/Hindu for e.g. for weddings some of my relatives still apply ‘saffran’ just like in Hindu weddings. n there r so many examples like that.
My father’s family
Ive nt really been able to trace the origin of my father’s family. My Grandfather’s dad apparently had brothers n maybe sisters in Madagascar. One of my relatives searched for it and
found dat 1 brother even had a business/ maybe a shop there. but dnt know if they were already Muslims or if they converted later on. But, dnt kw much bout My grandmother’s ancestors/origin.
Nice to hear about your story..
Thnx 4 sharing a bit of ur personal life with us. I never gave much importance to mixed marriage or heritage. For me, as u said, humanity and being human is more important. If my husband would have been of a different religion, I wouldnt love him less!! Your children are really cute!
bonjour! mon message pourrait paraitre hors contexte mais je suis tombé sur votre blog en cherchant des informations sur le mariage mixte et j’aurai une question à poser.malheureusement je ne trouve pas votre mail sur le blog, alors je m’excuse de le poser ici. je trouve tres interessant le fait de faire une seule ceremonie avec deux pretres lors du mariage mixte car la est tout le ”symbole de la mixité”. nous sommes un couple mixte catholique et hindou et souhaitons faire un mariage de ce type mais ne savons pas comment proceder. il parait que les pretres catholique n’officie pas hors de l’eglise, et il est bien dificile d’allumer un feu dans une eglise pr la ceremonie hindou. comment s’est passer le votre?Auriez quelques indications et conseils à ce sujet ?
je m’excuse encore une fois pour cette question indiscrete mais espere cependant une reponse de votre part.
Effectivement il manque mon adresse e-mail () que je viens de rajouter à la page ‘About me’. Merci d’avoir attiré mon attention sur cet écueil.
Pour notre mariage, nous sommes tombés sur un prêtre et un pandit très sympathiques qui ont accepté de collaborer. Le mariage s’est fait dans une salle (pas à l’église ni au temple) et nous avons donc installé le feu sur le podium.
Avant le mariage, nous avons eu des rencontres séparées avec le prêtre et le pandit pour discuter de la cérémonie, de la signification des rites et pour se mettre d’accord sur la facon de procéder.
Le prêtre (curé de la paroisse de St Jean à Qutre-Bornes, un Francais qui est maintenant reparti) nous a expliqué que l’on ne pouvait faire deux fois le sacrement du mariage. La marche autour du feu a donc tenu lieu de sacrement (au lieu de la traditionnelle session de questions-réponses ‘Voulez-vous prendre pour époux/se… Je vous déclare mari et femme’.) et le mariage a été inscrit et nous avons signé dans les registres de la paroisse.
Il faut dire que nous avions d’abord rencontré le père Souchon que l’on dit favorable à l’interculturalité. Celui-ci nous a fait tout un show en nous faisant visiter sa petite ‘chambre interculturelle’. Puis, il s’est décommandé car il n’était pas libre, ou quelque chose comme ca…
Cela nous avait un petit peu découragé jusqu’à ce que l’on rencontre le Père Guillemot qui était d’une gentillesse extrême avec une vraie profonde humilité et compréhension des autres (qualités de plus en plus rare chez nos curés). Il a apprécié la franchise d’Avinash sur sa non-croyance et pour ca je ne suis pas sur que beaucoup auraient eu la même attitude.
En fait, je vous conseillerais de faire le tour des curés (ca a l’air bizarre mais commencez par les étrangers; il ont moins d’a priori). La même chose pour les pandits (est-elle puranique ou védique?)…
Je vous souhaite bonne chance!
Ya un curé etranger à la paroisse de St Paul..il est a Maurice depuis quelques années déjà. Il est tres gentil… je crois qu’il s’apelle Père Titiano. P etre qu’il sera plus “open-minded” et acceptera pour la cerémonie.
Thank you, Christina, for sharing those details “behind the scenes” regarding your wedding ceremony. Very interesting indeed and out of common.
People should learn something from this: never to allow outside things or people influence in any way your relationship with the one you love and want to marry and share your life with. And you and Avinash succeeded at this 100%, doing everything in complete honesty.
Unfortunately, these cases are extremely rare.
Thank you for your nice comments Irina :*}
Cool if I ever need help in this field, I know where the experts r 😉
wow..i came to this blog par “pure hasard” 😆 but i shuld say that i dnt regret it..u got nice posts here.. 😉
well, i can see u got a really cool family with so many cultures mixed together.. 🙂 un vrai mauricien quoi! 😉 as i see both u n ur husband u r atheist.. 😕 (by choice of course!) but wat about ur children?? i suppose u’l leave the choice to them while they are growing or will u as parents try to push them in a specific direction?? but still i must say that am impressed.. 🙂
I came upon this article whilst doing research work on mixed marriage. Im very happy that the one who has dared surmount all obstacles for her love is not just “any-one”, but,…my teacher at UOM. Ur children reflect the “atmosphere” of ur home. Keep it up!