Wedding rituals around the world like the bride tossing the bouquet and the groom wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue, are so common now that even non-traditional couples participate. The US does not have a monopoly on such traditions; virtually every other country and culture has its own cherished (or quirky) wedding traditions.
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Some are adorable, like how wedding guests in Sweden kiss the newlyweds as they leave the room. Some are perplexing: on their wedding day, Congo couples are banned from grinning.
In Mongolia, engaged couples must slaughter and butcher a chicken to get a good life before they are allowed to wed. One factor, however, unites these seemingly different practices from near and far: love.
Wedding traditions around the world differ by nation and period. However, in several cultures, practices are maintained and passed down the centuries, such as when African brides-to-be wear attire indicative of their ancestry or when Brazilian brides bless their unmarried friends on their wedding day. Let’s discuss that and other wedding rituals worldwide in today’s blog!
A turmeric ritual
A few days before their weddings, brides in the Indian state of West Bengal and neighboring Bangladesh partake in the gaye holud ceremony, which literally translates to “turmeric on the body.” This is one of the most interesting wedding rituals around the world.The married women in the bride’s family pound turmeric with a mortar and pestle and apply the paste on the bride’s face and body during the ceremony, which often occurs at the bride’s residence. Turmeric, renowned for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects, is said to brighten the bride’s skin before the wedding.
Five items the bride should have
According to English legend, the union will be blessed if the bride wears “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” The tradition, which is also prevalent in the United States, states that the old item will bless the bride’s future child, that something borrowed from a happy bride will bring good luck, that something new will bring a bright future, and that blue symbolizes faithfulness, and that the coin will bring prosperity. Definitely a winner in our list of wedding rituals around the world.
The happiness of friendship
In Brazil, it is customary to include the names of their single female friends within the hem of their wedding gowns (Greek brides also do this, but on the soles of their shoes). This blessing will bring them happiness and marriage. During the “heel-and-toe dance” at the reception, the bride’s gold shoes are put on the dance floor so that visitors can drop monetary presents into them
Outfits upon outfits
It is all about marriage stuff here. Nigerian brides are customarily attired for numerous wedding rites in various robes with ancestral roots, resulting in a series of wardrobe changes. Aso oke is a hand-woven cloth representing the bride’s family tribe, her new husband’s tribe, or both. Fabric and color uniformity is essential, with the couple establishing an aso ebi dress code for their wedding guests.
Austrian weddings are spectacular affairs. In the higher districts of Salzkammergut, Tyrol, and Styria, gunshots or firecrackers are used to wake the bride up early on her wedding day. At the same time, neighbors and friends create havoc outside the house to scare away evil spirits. A great addition to our wedding rituals around the world.
Families celebrating over sake
San san kudo (“three three nines times”) is one of the oldest Japanese wedding rituals, going back to the 1600s. Instead of exchanging wedding vows, the bride and groom and their parents sip sake from three different-sized glasses three times apiece. The first three sips signify wrath, passion, and ignorance, while the second three symbolize the cementing of the family link. The final three sips reflect liberation from these previous errors. Three is considered a lucky number. Thus nine drinks equal three times the enjoyment. A most enjoyable item on our list of wedding rituals around the world.
Using ancient wedding customs, henna, which is thought to bring good luck, plays an essential role at a Tunisian wedding, where the pair is celebrated six days before the event. During the initial henna ritual, a female member of the bride’s family applies henna paste in complex flower and butterfly patterns on the bride’s hands and feet. The next day is the harkous event, during which henna is reapplied as female musicians perform traditional Tunisian melodies.
Abduction of the bride
Russians adopt a humorous approach to the expensive dowry given to a bride in other cultures, with a wedding ritual in which the bride is abducted by her parents before the marriage. The groom next performs vykup necessity (“paying the ransom”), in which his prospective in-laws construct a series of obstacles for him, purportedly to demonstrate his love for their daughter, but ultimately to humiliate him. Finally, if the bridesmaids cannot accomplish the responsibilities, the groom compensates them with flowers, chocolate, or cash.
Only marrying on specific days and months
Italians, a superstitious country for wedding rituals, avoid tying the knot on Tuesdays (dedicated to the God of battle) and Fridays (believed to be the day evil spirits were formed). May and August are also removed from the calendar, along with Advent and Lent. On a lighter note, Italian wedding customs include la serenata, where the husband surprises the bride with a song under her window the night before.
A lasso fashioned of flowers for a wedding
Modern Mexican weddings blend old and modern traditions, but the wedding lasso (el Lazo) remains a traditional custom. Following the wedding vows, the padrinos (godparents) place a string of flowers or rosary beads over the couple’s shoulders to symbolize love and unity. It is considered bad luck to ask a single woman to put the lasso because, according to tradition, godparents are chosen based on their relationship experience and strength.
A chorus of weeping voices sets the tone for a Chinese Tujia wedding. “Crying for the groom” is a wedding ritual in which the bride cries to symbolize her sadness at leaving her parents’ home and her appreciation for them. It is typical for the bride to start sobbing one month before her wedding, with her mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts joining her in the ritual.