When I first came to Malaysia, we went to lots of village weddings – my husband’s generation, friends, cousins etc.
Village people helped supply the food, menfolk did the cooking at the home of the bride or groom, the village youth did the waiting on tables, village women decorated and cleaned and prepared.
One of the things villagers did was to take whatever eggs they could spare to the wedding house (knowing others would do the same for them when members of their own family married). The eggs were hardboiled and then one or more was given to each of the guests. Each egg was wrapped in half a paper napkin or a twist of cellophane or something similar – nothing too fancy.
They said two things, those eggs: firstly, “Thanks for coming and here’s a token of our appreciation”; and secondly, “Hey, eggs are a symbol of fertility, and here’s hoping this young couple has a family and secures the future.” You took the egg home and ate it.
Nowadays, few people give eggs anymore. They substitute a slice of cake, or chocolates, or a tiny bag of potpourri. And the containers have become more and more elaborate, often made of china or pottery, and then placed in lovely paper bags with the name of bride and bridegroom on the outside.
My problem is – we go to a lot of weddings. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t receive an invitation, and although we turn most of them down, we still end up with dozens of things like those I have pictured – in twos, because husband and wife each get one.
I’m an environmentalist and I like things that can be recycled or used…and believe me, there’s only so many pin containers one can have in a house. So what should I do with these? As much as I appreciate the thought, and the enormous amount of trouble that the family have gone to, I want a return to something wrapped in a twist of cheap recycled paper.
That would be enough to say thanks – and it would go a little way towards saving the world’s resources. Am I wrong? And what do other people do with these things???