Every culture has its own folklore associated with major rites of passage. Marriage seems to be a universal concept, and around the world, couples seek luck, happiness and prosperity in their marriages. To celebrate the differences and similarities of people everywhere, we thought that we would check out wedding beliefs from around the world. Who knows? Traditions from another continent or even hemisphere might catch on elsewhere.
The sky is the limit when it comes to keeping old traditions or adopting those new to you.
During the ceremony the bride closes her hand, and the groom’s mother tries to pry it open. If she fails, she must give the bride an expensive gift. Then, seven single women apply henna to the bride’s hand. An Afghan couple must let any guests into the reception who want to be there, even strangers.
If you find a spider crawling on your wedding dress, don’t scream and shake it off; according to our neighbors across the pond, it’s good luck. In the U.K. the 29th of February is said to be the day that a woman can propose to her partner.
In Egypt, every unmarried woman gets a chance to pinch the bride. The bride’s family is supposed to do all the cooking for the couple for a week after their wedding; this might take away some of the sting!
Before the wedding, the bride goes door to door to collect wedding gifts in a pillowcase, escorted by an elderly gentleman. During the ceremony, she wears a golden crown. At the wedding reception, all the women blindfold the bride and dance around her.
For a sweet marriage, it’s said the bride should put a sugar cube in her glove. As for the groom, his best man has to give him a shave, and his bride’s mother must feed him honey and almonds to welcome him to the family.
Embroidery of cranes on the wedding dress signifies fidelity. A round white hat symbolizes that the bride is hiding horns, a metaphor for jealousy of her mother-in-law. The bride and groom ritually sip from three sake cups three times each for love, wisdom and happiness.
During the reception, paper, ribbon and a decorative tree branch are set on a table. The guests write well wishes to the couple for them to read aloud. After the reading, the bride and groom tie each note on the tree branch.
The bride’s hands are painted with intricate henna designs called mehndi. If it rains during the wedding, it is a sign of good luck. During the ceremony, the groom takes his shoes off in the aisle, and the two families have a play-fight over who gets the shoes.
Among the Maasai people, the father of the bride spits on her chest, and then she walks to her new home without looking back, signifying her new life and leaving the nest of her parents. For the Pokot, a bride price is paid by the groom, and he places a leather wedding band on her wrist during the ceremony.
The bride and groom must not see each other for eight days before the wedding. The ceremony takes place at the bride’s home, and the bride and groom host their first dinner as a married couple.
The night before the wedding, the bride wears a green dress and spends time with family members. Italian couples give almonds in a small purse to their guests for luck. It’s custom to break a glass at the wedding. The number of pieces is the number of happy years you’ll be married.
A piper in full Highland dress stands at the church door and plays bagpipes at various times throughout the wedding and hands a sharp Highland dagger to the bride and groom to cut the cake together.
Bury a bourbon bottle upside down one month before the ceremony at the place the ceremony will be to ward off rain. You can dig up the whiskey to drink at the wedding. The groom has a special cake personalized just for him.
Silver from the bride’s father and gold from her mother placed in her shoes will bring prosperity. If the bride leaves the room, the single ladies are allowed to kiss the groom, and if he goes, the single guys are allowed to kiss the bride. Men receive engagement rings as do women.