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BEHIND THE SCENES : States of the 'Union,' Globally

May 19, 1994|ROSE APODACA JONES

A Bedouin bride is shrouded in black, covering a richly embroidered velvet gown underneath, in accordance with Muslin customs. In Bali, brides prepare for the Big Day by having their upper front teeth filed to prevent the deadly sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. And in China, brides toss watermelons from a window to symbolize getting rid of their bad habits.

Matrimonial rituals are not always as simple as compiling something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, as revealed in a fashion show and exhibit at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana on Sunday. "The Passages to Union" show explored wedding traditions and bridal gowns from around the world.

Much like a wedding, the event was no small undertaking. Museum coordinator Patricia Korzac spent six months collecting information on a subject that for the most part has gone undocumented. Although getting married might seem like a turning point, she said many cultures perceive it as less important than the rites of passage into adulthood.

Not having books for reference didn't keep Korzac or her assistants from putting on an enlightening show complete with photographs, dowry gifts and ceremonial objects. There were exquisite gowns from Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Afghanistan and other lands, proving that no matter the culture or their economic status, a bride is lavished in the best available.

Absent, unfortunately, was information about what grooms wear.

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