I watched, as if in slow motion, the soapy platter slip out of Jason's hands into the sink and crack in 2 places. It was an oval yellow dish painted with roosters and flowers. My Mom gave it to me a few years ago and it was perfect for holding small fish. "Oh Helen, I am so sorry!" he said evaluated the damage. My response was almost automatic -- "It's for happiness. "
In Russia, we believe that dishes break for happiness, but I only realized all the little coincidences surrounding the breaking of my fish plate as I sat down to write this post. This was the plate I used to dry run the main course for my brother, Leo's, rehearsal dinner the night before we left for Baltimore. This crazy kid, who'll always be my "little" brother, was graduating from college and getting married all in one week. I don't think we've ever had as much partying, laughing, and crying condensed into a 7 day period.
In my family, we take the glass breaking tradition quite seriously, fulfilling our quota way beyond the basic ceremony around wedding time. In fact, the first story I heard about my parents' wedding was the tale of a bohemian wine decanter, that was my Mom's most treasured piece from her dowry, slipping out of her hands the day before her wedding. You can't imagine how many tears she shed over this piece at the time, but my grandma was convinced it was "for happiness." She was right.
We had to throw our fish plate away, but Leo and Megan's wedding was absolutely amazing. It couldn't be more appropriate for Jason to be the one to break the plate. After all, he was Leo's best man.
Leo and Megan at the rehearsal dinner
P.S. The dish in the picture at the top of this post is roasted bluefish with peppers and fennel (recipe coming soon) and the plate is the one that broke for the newlyweds' happiness :)