After choosing a wedding ring, there comes the tradition.
We all know what a wedding represents. It’s a ceremony in which two people are getting together in a marriage. This communion takes place all over the world. But, each culture has different wedding customs and traditions and they differ, especially, due to religion, social classes or ethnic groups. Most of these ceremonies often involve the exchange of the famous wedding rings that come along with the wedding vows. Now, we might know the most practiced traditions, but let’s take a look to the weirdest ones.
Back then, during Biblical times.
In ancient times, shoes were the symbol for authority and they were used to seal a bargain in which the father of the bride had to give his son-in-law a pair of shoes on the wedding day. And by that, he gave away his authority over his daughter.
Whom should we get married to?
If you symbolically get married to a tree, you will be protected and have a lot of luck in life. This is how they do it in India. And, when you decide to actually marry somebody, the wedding will last for an entire day with a pre-wedding ceremony held usually at the bride’s home. In Tibet, if a woman has more than one husband is very common.
Oh, that beautiful white dress.
Oriental wedding dresses display embroidered cranes (symbol of life-long fidelity). The presence of 1001 white paper origami cranes means good luck in Japan. In this country, the ceremony requires the bride to be painted in pure white from head to toe, declaring that she is a maiden wearing a white kimono and a head piece.
But a wedding dress has to be gorgeous no matter the country. Yet, in certain parts of Scotland, there is a typical pre-marital humiliation ceremony that consists in throwing all sorts of gross things at the bride under the excuse that “if you can handle this, you can handle anything, including marriage”.
In most of the Eastern cultures, white is associated with mourning. Therefore, there are very few brides who wear white ones. This is all good when we think that in Samoa, bridal dresses are made from the bark of mulberry tree and in Namibia, the bride has to wear an “Ecora”, a veil made of goat skin, rubbed with tar, grease and red ocher.
The big party.
Almost all the cultures in the world shower the bride and the groom with symbolic food. When it comes to the French people, they throw wheat in the air while the Bulgarians go for the figs. Sicilians are much more steady and choose bread and salt and the English – pieces of cake. We know these facts.
But, did you know that in Tujia, China, every bride has to start crying for an hour every day during a month before the wedding. Ten days after the start, the mom has to cry as well accompanied after another 10 days by the grandmother so that at the end of the month every female from the family cries alongside the bride. It’s been said that this is an expression of joy, a moment when all the women weep together.
The very first night.
During the Middle Ages, in Europe, the man who was allowed to spend the first night with a non-noble bride was the lord of the manor. It was his legal right (if the woman was living on his land).
Some tribes from central Asia think that a bride’s hymen should be broken by her maternal grandfather and not by her husband. If the grandfather is not alive, a cousin from her mother’s side is good too.
Eskimos take their brides to a priest. For a divine deflowering.
In order to ensure the groom’s family that the bride was virgin, many Muslim countries (and many parts of Greece) ask the groom to show the virginal blood on the sheets in the morning right after the wedding.
In some villages from Africa, an older woman has to accompany the newlyweds to their bedroom on the first night of marriage to teach the bride how to behave.
The money and…the almighty ring.
Over 74% of brides who marry for the first time receive a diamond engagement ring. Even if they are very expensive, diamond rings symbolize pure and eternal love. In Greece, they thought that diamonds were tears of the Gods and the Romans saw these gems as splinters from heavenly stars. A pearl engagement ring symbolizes bad luck because its shape echoes of a tear. History records that the first engagement ring was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII at the age of…two.
In the United States of America, nearly $72 billion is spent on weddings each year and 17 tons of gold per year are made into wedding rings. Still, the most expensive wedding ever held was of Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s son to Princess Salama in May 1981, in Dubai: $44 million.
There are many more strange and weird things about wedding customs. If a man wanted to marry a woman in Afghanistan, he had to cut off a lock of her hair and proclaim her his bride. Men also used to throw a sheet over the woman. In Kenya (at the Massai weddings) it is very common to see the bride’s father spitting on her. This means that she is blessing her, actually. Here, the groom should wear women’s clothes for a whole month after his wedding in order for him to understand how hard it is to be a woman. In an ethnic Chinese minority (the Yugur culture) the groom has to shoot his bride with a bow and an arrow (with no arrowheads, though) three times before the wedding. After this deed, he will collect the arrows, break them and go on with the ceremony.