Glory Box

If I am to explain ‘glory box’ to someone who doesn’t know —–It is comparable to a bride’s trousseau… difference being, latter is collected during the engagement period, and former is a long term exercise…. long before the girl had even reached puberty and much more elaborate and extensive.

I read an interesting book about Lebanese girls, customs, marriages, and glory boxes. I must mention, although the book was specifically about Lebanese girls, the ‘glory box’ however is not a culturally significant practise to Lebanese alone.

Reading the book reminded me of a conversation I had with a neighbour once.

My daughter was still at primary school when M – my elderly Caucasian neighbour –asked me if I had started my daughter’s Glory Box. My perplexed “her what?” was lost in her preconceived mind that it is a given fact all cultural practices are the same…….so she went on to narrate her story of how and when she started her glory box and mind you, few years later when we moved out of the area she presented me with some doilies and asked me to put it in my daughters’ glory box. I said “um…o k”. I don’t know where those doilies are today….it should be somewhere in the house : ) She was a lovely neighbour and I love her dearly, but………..

Back to the book—-Some girls portrayed in the book have accumulated incredible amounts of household goods….. they are now called ‘glory garages’. The mothers usually start off when the daughters are about 10-11 and the daughters take it off in their teen years.

One particular girl had amassed half a garage full of glory purchases over the years. Some examples… 16 dinner sets, 30 bath towels, 36 drinking glasses, 3 bedspreads, (the numbers are not typos) among heaps of other acquisitions, that will perhaps fill two or three houses. She is in her mid twenties, no boyfriend as yet and refuses to marry someone of her parents choosing (at least she has moved away from that tradition) yet still heavily involved in her glory purchases by frequenting all major sales. Her justification, apart from just parroting tradition, is that she is buying them all on sales! I am talking serious buying of ‘quality goods’, ‘fine china’ etc, not cheap ‘made in China’. She then has an annual stock take to evaluate necessary purchases for the next year.

Reading the book and pondering, I realised……this is a good example of blind following of tradition. Perhaps these ‘traditions’ were started during the great depression, I don’t know…. anyway……

Why do people follow tradition for mere sake of it? Household goods go out of fashion…..Look weathered with time… Linen will smell musty….and so on and so forth.

The new generation following these traditions are more educated, living in a progressive world and I presume capable of logical thinking than their parents. This is what perplexes me about blind followers of some tradition in any society.

I understand the fact not everyone can easily veer from tradition but where is the logic? ….traditions like these could easily be modernised if one wishes to carry them on for whatever reasons.

Just imagine……… the money was invested over the years instead…… and the investments grew…….. She would have bought better, newer versions of household goods and most of all, fresh smelling ones. Perhaps not sixteen dinner sets at once but manageable amounts and she still would’ve continued the tradition of furnish /equip the house before marriage and be financially stronger for it. Besides, sales are still an occurrence in the world.

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12 comments so far

  1. Indyana on

    This was literally frightening! I have NO glory box whatsoever for my lil girl! I was thinking, Oh god! Is this the norm? Am I doing the wrong thing? Should I buck up with the gathering? My mum on the other hand has left behind vessels and household goods needed for two houses or more.What a contrast!But,I don’t think the lil one will appreciate dated stuff albeit of solid quality….oh dear, these customs scare me!

  2. Azrael on

    Start a savings account…or buy some stocks…much much more easier and takes up less room too. 😀

    The problem with investments and savings is that you don’t see the growth, it’s a virtual thing, but when you buy things, there’s tangible evidence. People prefer to see to believe…anyways you have to show off for the neighbors don’t you? What better than a garage full of stuff…

  3. Lady divine on

    That was a great post! Something not many people think about I guess.. and it may not be in the culture of many either…
    But it’s very thoughtful…and imagine the collection at the end of it all…. would be absolutely stunning….
    Amazing..and would mean a lot too…

  4. R on

    What do the sons get?
    Utter sexual discrimination…

  5. pissu perera on

    nutters. absolute nutters. why do women always believe that their whole lives need to lead up to marriage. i can understand women being sent to their husband with a whole garage full of stuff a few decades ago, but now when most women work and earn to pay household bills? nonsense.

  6. John on

    So, it appears that men aren’t the only ones who are pack rats. This is the first time I’m hearing about it too. Does this happen in SL as well?

    Pissu? What do you you have in your garage then?

  7. mia on

    Indyana, ha ha

    Azrael, Yes, the showing off part is a huge factor for these mothers.

    LD, By that I hope you are not thinking of starting one, are you? :-O

    R, Er… I think you (sons) get it too easy….you just receive free glory purchases with with the girl. How good is that? : )

    PP, You can say that again!

    John, In SL there is a thing called dowry 🙂

  8. John on

    ah yes. Having been born wearing pants, I think I may have landed on the gravy train side of things. Well, at least things are improving.

  9. Angel on

    If only I knew this a few years ago! Life has been reduced to mad rushings around Colombo to find bathtowels, pot holders and drinking glasses that don’t look too squat… Please feel free to send any spare doilies my way.

  10. mia on

    That’s the way John, stay positive 🙂

    Angel,
    As soon as I locate those doilies they will be on its way to you. Can’t guarantee the condition though……..could be moth eaten you know 🙂

  11. bea on

    Something else I haven’t done in the run up to my wedding, no glory box…I really am the bad bride…I do have a dog and a guinea pig to put in the new house but no doilies. What to do? (or should I blame my mum).

  12. mia on

    A dog and a guinea pig should amount to something right? 🙂
    No, definitely don’t blame your mother. As a mother, I have to support your mother whether I know her or not : )
    btw, best wishes for your upcoming nuptials.


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