A new Jewish tradition – breaking of the light bulb!

One of the highlights of the Jewish wedding ceremony is the breaking of a glass. This couple wanted to do something different and used a light bulb instead. In an effort to update the ceremony, it created an interesting tale.

The wedding was at the National Arts Centre where all the prominent Jewish families of Ottawa were in attendance. There were over 200 people packed into room. This was to be a mixed marriage. She was Jewish and a computer engineer. He was French Canadian, therefore Roman Catholic, as well as an electrical engineer.

When I arrived at the site, I could tell that she was in charge. She was re-arranging the chairs in the hall in her strapless wedding dress. Orders were being given to her family members who scurried about to get them done. When we did a bit of a run through, she had specific instructions in how the makeshift chupah should be held by her brothers.

I asked about the glass that was to be broken by the groom as part of the ceremony.  I was presented with a light bulb, wrapped in aluminum foil and then enveloped with a cloth napkin. Puzzled, I asked as to why they decided on a light bulb. They figured that because of their careers – both having to do with electricity –that a light bulb would be more symbolic for them.

We got through the ceremony up to the breaking of the light bulb. I gave it to the groom for him to step on and break. He put the package on the floor and gently pressed on it. The light bulb, being round, slipped out from under his foot. A gasp filled the room. This was considered a bad omen. A second try with a little more effort produced the same result. The groom feeling the tension rising in the crowd turned to them and said with a shrug, “Well, we all know who will wear the pants in the family”. The audience burst into laughter. The groom turned back and with great determination, stomped on the light bulb. It burst with a “POP” and some white powder leaked from the napkin. A moment’s hesitation – then the crowd yelled “Mazel Tov!”

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