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Mezinka wedding dance

    With the Jewish wedding season moving into high gear, you might be fortunate to witness the rare and picturesque Mezinka dance. This is a dance done at Ashkenazi weddings when a youngest child is married off, after all of the elder siblings are already married.

    The parents, siblings and their spouses take part (there are both mixed and separate versions). Each dancer is armed with an ornate tinsel-decorated broom and dust pan. (I am serious. There are gemachs, free-loan societies, where you can borrow the equipment.) With these festive implements, they mime sweeping the youngest child out of the door as the dance music rises to a joyous, frenzied tempo.

    The origins of the Mezinka dance are obscure, but it appears to be a Chasidic custom. There are obviously a number of politically correct reasons not to do the Mezinka dance - it may hurt the feelings of guests who have older, unmarried children, and it suggests that the parents are, heaven forbid, delighted to be offloading their youngest child etc.

    Many people do not do the dance for such reasons. I must say that the only time I saw the Mezinka, it was very moving, performed with humour and loving irony.

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