Statistics in French Canada show a similar trend. NOTE 2 When someone deviates from the norm, it is up to family or village leaders to intervene. Such deviations are more than a matter of individual choice; they are a sort of public offense that upsets the balance of the entire community. There was a time when the community would simply delay the younger sibling's marriage, but nowadays offenders must atone for their crime by carrying out a particular ritual, a sort of amende honorable through which their socially unacceptable actions are publicly exposed, condemned and temporarily forgiven.
A "punishment" is also incurred for the infraction and the best time for the customary sentence to be carried out is during the wedding. Sometimes the "punishment" is handed down on the eve of the ceremony, but it is most commonly done on the younger sibling's wedding day. In Canada, the sentence has taken on many forms, but it is almost always a dance. There is a tradition among the French-speaking population of North-eastern Ontario that punishes older brothers or sisters that have been beaten to the altar by a younger sibling.
The ritual is carried out on the younger sibling's wedding day, usually during the dance that follows the meal. At a specified time, the older sibling is called to the centre of the room and asked to remove his or her shoes and pull up his or her pant legs. The younger sibling or another member of the immediate family then dresses the offender in a pair of multicoloured knee-high socks--in which red is usually a dominant colour--that were made specifically for the event by another family member.
The socks are often also decorated with bells, pompoms, ribbons, feathers and similar items designed specifically to make them as garish and ridiculous as possible. The older sibling then gets up and dances alone to a piece of music with a strong beat, ideally a reel. The display can go on for ten minutes or more, during which time the guests surround the dancer, cheering, teasing and sometimes throwing money and change.
Other guests sometimes join in for a few steps, and sometimes they take turns getting the dancer to spin in place, making them dizzy.
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At the end of the ritual, which is all in good fun, the money on the floor--which can range from tens to a few hundred dollars-- is collected and given to the newlyweds. The older sibling takes off the socks and keeps them as a souvenir.
If there is more than one older sibling, they dance together and it is possible that the same individual wil end up dancing at several weddings-there are stories of one confirmed bachelor dancing seven times before getting married! While the custom is not actually mandatory, it is often seen as such. Refusing to participate could result in mockery, practical jokes or some other form of "punishment.
Though the tradition of the sock dance seems to flourish throughout French-speaking Ontario, in the past, it has taken on more humiliating incarnations that today are disappearing fast. One of these variations-the trough dance-is still common. The objective is still to discipline an unmarried older sibling on the day of a younger sibling's wedding by making them dance, but in this case, the victim dances in a pig trough in the past, it was a wash basin.
This more rural tradition has evolved slightly in recent years: whereas dirty old troughs were once used for the dance, today's offenders are now made to dance in a clean trough made or purchased just for the occasion. In nearby Grande-Pointe, the ritual was carried out as recently as From the Trough to the Washbasin.
However, the trough dance and the different variations on the tradition seem most common in the Sudbury area. In the s, according to a witness from Saint-Charles, the dance was done barefoot on an upside-down bench. Another claims that in the s and s, the dance was done in a trough or washbasin or in one's stocking feet on an overturned bench and that no money was thrown. Get it by Sunday, Jul 07 Only 5 left in stock. Get it by Tuesday, Jul 09 Only 1 left in stock.
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