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SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: ETHNIC WEDDINGS IN GREATER LOWELL
 
Susan and Steve Chapman

circumstances in which they met.  The personal stories of two couples who have been married for over fifty years are included in the exhibit text. 

Ethnicity:
Ethnicity involves social relationships with members of a group who have a shared sense of identity, history, cultural patterns and styles.  These cultural patterns and styles maybe esoteric to a particular group, yet they can be shared in obvious and open ways with members outside the group.

     In Lowell, where over fifty different ethnic groups express cultural traditions in a myriad of ways, we can easily forget that people express their ethnicity by choice since ethnicity is an ascribed identity.  Members of the group decide for themselves the basis and the extent of their involvement within the ethnic circle.  Membership is by descent and sometimes by intermarriage.

     When we look closely, we see a blend of ethnic traditions that are often brought about by intermarriage, immigration, and acculturation.  Because of this combination, brides and grooms feel at liberty to reformulate and reshape their own ethnic traditions and yet include "American" ones as well. 

Personal Identity: 
How does a couple fashion their own wedding so that it reflects their own personal identities and their identity as a couple?  What ethnic touches might be

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