|Weddings are joyous celebrations in any culture around the world. / Photo by Jozef Polc via 123rf|
Weddings are joyous celebrations in any culture around the world, and they carry some beliefs and traditions that date back to centuries ago that are still practiced even today to honor the heritage and keep family values and ideals. Each country practices its own unique wedding customs. Some are sweet, others are downright bizarre, perplexing, or fascinating. But whatever category the tradition falls in, it carries a constant allusion: eternal happiness and good luck for the bride and groom.
The following are wedding traditions from different countries that may be considered odd and peculiar but uniquely fascinating to preserve and celebrate from one generation to the next.
The couple breaks a plate during the wedding reception for good luck. Then the groom’s mother gives them lavash bread to balance over their shoulders to ward off evil. They eat spoonfuls of honey after to help them hold on to happiness.
The wedding traditions start with gunshots or firecrackers to wake the bride early on her wedding day and then friends churn out a racket outside the bride’s house to scare off evil spirits.
The bride and the groom spend the first three days together shut in their home and kept from using the bathroom to strengthen their bond. Sweet suffering!
The bride writes inside the hem of her wedding dress the names of single female friends to bless them with good luck and marriage.
Brides and grooms are forbidden to smile during the entire wedding day because smiling is interpreted as the couple is not serious about their marriage.
It’s customary for the bride-to-be to start crying a month before her wedding, with the mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt joining in the crying ceremony. This symbolizes sorrow at leaving her home as well as gratitude to her parents. The crying spree lasts one hour a day for a month.
The groom shoots his bride with a headless arrow several times, then collects and breaks them as a warranty that their love will last forever.
The Czech Republic
Before the wedding ceremony, an infant is placed on the couple's bed to bless and enhance their fertility.
Tabua, a whale tooth, is rare and precious. The groom must present a wreath of tabua to his bride or to her father when proposing to show his sincerity.
Brides and grooms traditionally eat chocolate and champagne from a toilet bowl after the reception to give them strength before their wedding night. Ugh!
The newly married couple needs to saw a log in half as a team after the ceremonies. This proves their ability to work harmoniously to beat obstacles and problems.
The groomsman shaves the groom’s face, representing trust between them. After being freshly shaved, his mother-in-law feeds him with honey and almonds.
It's a tradition that the groom's mother smashes a white ceramic bell filled with rice and flour to bring prosperity to the couple.
The bride's sisters and cousins make off with the groom's shoes and demand ransom money for their safe return on his wedding day.
The bride wears white from head to toe, including makeup, kimono, and a hood. White denotes her maiden status, and the hood hides the so-called "horns of jealousy" she feels toward her mother-in-law.
A father spits on the bride after the ceremony to not tempt fate by being too supportive of the couple. Spitting is seen as “a way of blessing” or some sort of giving something of oneself to someone else.
As early as five years old, a girl is fattened up with the belief that a woman’s size indicates the space she occupies in her husband’s heart and wealth. The richer the groom, the bigger the wife he can afford. The bigger the girl, the more desirable she becomes.
The bride and groom each release a white dove as a symbol of a successful married life to come.
|The bride and groom each release a white dove as a symbol of a successful married life to come. / Photo by laur7410 via 123rf|
After the wedding ceremonies end, the relatives of the bride lay side-by-side, face down on the ground, like a human rug, while the bride and groom walk over them.
Sweetbread decorated with wheat for prosperity are shared by the couple. Whoever bites the biggest piece is deemed the head of the family.
The Blackening is done before the ceremony to symbolize the hardships of marriage. The bride and groom are doused in anything disgusting by family and friends and paraded around town. It is believed that after this tribulation together, the couple can go through all the trials the marriage entails.
UK and US
English folklore says that a bride wearing “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe” will bring good luck to the union. In America, something old will bless the couple’s baby, something borrowed will bring good luck, something new will bring a bright future, something blue represents fidelity, and the coin is a wish for prosperity.
It is considered traditional for the newly married couple to sneak out of the reception without getting caught. If successful, it means good luck.
Traditions are meaningful pieces of our culture, the foundation of our families and society. They define our past and shape our present and future. Let these traditions prevail to bring families together and friends to reconnect.