Thursday, 16 September 2010

Giving Away My Daughter

I was recently at the wedding of two of my son's friends and one part of the service struck me as odd, why do we still have the father of the bride 'giving her away'? In the days when women were regarded as property I suppose it made sense but now?

Oddly it didn't strike me as peculiar when I gave my daughter away earlier this year, in fact I felt it was an honour, but it did get me thinking. As I thought, over a period of a couple of days, a poem took shape in my head which I hope gives some idea of the emotions of a father giving away his little girl.


I gave away my little girl
It was an odd thing to do.
The preacher asked ‘Who gives this girl?’
And I replied ‘I do’

I gave away my little girl
The tiny little thing
Whose furrowed brow made me smile
In the delivery room.

I gave away my little girl
Who questioned everything
Why this? Why that? Why anything?
Like Why Bird on TV.

I gave away my little girl
Who loved to go to school
And learn about all sorts of things
And make some friends there too.

I gave away my little girl
Whose music filled our house.
From Bach to Britten and Bernstein
Sibelius but no R Strauss!

I gave away my little girl
Whose make up was all black
Despite the school rules saying
It should be paler than that.

I gave away my little girl
Who came to share my faith
In Jesus Christ who loves us all
Whatever creed or race.

I gave away my little girl
Who went away to college
And returned a very clever girl
With lots and lots of knowledge.

I gave away my little girl
To a fine young man
And though she now belongs to him
She’ll always still be mine.


Julie said...

At the wedding I did last week we didn't do that - the congregation stood up and promised to support them in their marriage. Its one of the options in the new service book.
It was good in this instance as they were already living together and had a toddler so giving away was unimportant. Other weddings I have seen the parents of both bride and groom have done it

maggi said...

we abandoned "giving away" in the anglican church, as a woman is no longer the property of father/husband (thank God) but the bride is still pretty often walked up the aisle by her father or another member of the family. When they really want to make something of the trad "giving away" we say "who BRINGS this woman..." (not "gives")

Still Breathing said...

Maggi, I fully understand about women not being property but I still like the idea of 'giving away' the bride. I see it as the brides father giving her away from one family unit to her husband so that the two of them can become their own family. The father isn't acting on his own behalf but is representing the family unit and, in a way, passing the baton to the next generation.
Anyway I’m an old traditionalist at times.