Wedding Traditions around the World

February 10 2015

No one is certain when the first wedding ceremony took place, but marital rituals have been important for millennia. As far back as the Middle Ages, weddings and war were the most common methods for unifying empires. The desire for peace—and for protecting one’s family, wealth, and land—brought powerful families together through matrimony.

Many rituals from the past show up in courtship and during weddings around the world today. Incorporating cultural traditions into a ceremony often personalizes it. Here are 10 ways people tie the knot.

  1. Indian wedding rituals include Mehndi (also known as henna) ceremonies. Before the wedding, the couple’s hands and feet are artfully decorated with mehndi, a medicinal herb that is elevates stress. So in addition to this being a beautiful art form, this ceremony works to soothe the nerves of an excited bride and groom.

  1. In Orthodox and Conservative Jewish weddings, the bride and groom stand under a canopy called a chuppa, which is meant to protect them from evil spirits. After sharing a sip of wine from glass, the groom breaks the glass. This has many meanings. One is that this sweet wine is only shared by the bride and groom. It also symbolizes the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
  1. Japanese brides and grooms also share a drink that unites them. In this case the beverage is sake.
  1. The day before Islamic couples wed, the women gather at the bride’s house to sing and dance.
  1. A few days before a Czechoslovakian wedding is held, the bride’s friends plant a tree in her yard and decorate it with colored ribbons and painted eggshells. This legend says that the bride will live as long as the tree.
  1. Money dances are part of Cuban and Cajun weddings. During the dance, every man who dances with the bride pins money to her wedding gown.
  1. A Welsh bride carries myrtle, which is a symbol of love. She shares cuttings with her bridesmaids. After the wedding, the bridesmaids are supposed to plant the flowers. If the cutting blooms, the bridesmaid will be the next to marry.
  1. Fortune tellers are consulted for an auspicious date that the wedding should be held.
  1. American weddings include a number of rituals such as the bride tossing a bouquet to her single bridesmaids. The one who catches it, is supposed to get married soon.
  2. In many cultures around the world, rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck.