Marriage is an ancient institution that even predates recorded history. Every country and culture holds their own traditions surrounding marriage and the wedding day. While love is always the common theme, the ceremonies and celebrations look vastly different.
The “Pinning of the Tartan” is an ancient wedding tradition in Scotland. After the proclamation of husband and wife, a member of the groom's family may present the bride with the clan tartan in the form of a pin or a sash. This presentation is a symbol of the bride’s acceptance into the groom’s clan.
Photo courtesy of Blue Bonnet Tartan Weddings
Everyone expects to see a bride dressed in white, but it hasn’t always been the color of choice. In Tuscany, a traditional bride would wear a black dress with a white hat. In Venice, the bride would walk to church wearing her second-best wedding dress. The bridal gown was saved for the first dance. The best man will greet everyone coming into the reception with a tray of liquor. The festivities are started with a toast to the couple saying “Per cent’ anni’” which means “For a hundred years.”
Handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition where the hands of the betrothed couple are tied together before their wedding day. Contemporary weddings have adopted this tradition and use ribbon or cords to represent the marriage commitment. The Irish bride is also known to carry a horseshoe for good luck. Today many brides have beautiful decorative porcelain versions made that they carry.
Photo courtesy of Cloud 9 Ceremonies.
Hindu brides usually wear a red and gold sari are are draped in extravagant jewelry on their wedding day. During the ceremony an orange powder is put on the bride’s forehead. The bride and the groom with communicate their expectations of married life and show their consent by showering rice on each other.
In Greek weddings the bride will write the names of her unmarried friends on the bottom of her wedding shoes. The names on the shoes that get worn away by the end of the night are the names of the friends who will be engaged soon. Two gold crowns are made and connected by ribbon. The bride and groom are crowned during the ceremony by the best man. This tradition signifies that they shall rule over their house together.
Photo courtesy of Letter Impressed.
In China a great importance is placed on numbers and dates. Fortune-tellers are consulted to determine the best days to marry. Red is the color for joy and luck and is incorporated in the wedding decorations, invitations, and bridal clothing. Dowries for marriages are still highly honored. After extensive bargaining the two families will arrive at the amount of money and goods that make up the gift to the woman's family.
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