Most wedding traditions are quite similar among various backgrounds and cultures. Traditions are an important factor in weddings today and they are what keep the family bond alive and illustrate the history of one’s culture and upbringing. Traditions bring about pride and honor. Some traditions are comical, others are emotional. In the end, it’s all about love and welcoming. Love of cultures and the welcoming of your significant other and their culture into yours. Let’s take a look into some fascinating wedding traditions that might seem a little odd and/or interesting to those of us accustomed to more American wedding traditions.
- India – “Joota Chupai” - The Shoe Stealing Game When the groom enters the Mandap (covered structure with pillars for weddings) he must remove his shoes. As soon as they are off his feet, the eldest unmarried girls from the bride’s side of the family run off with them. The grooms side must try and get the shoes back while the bride’s side helps the girls make off with them and hide them. The groom must leave the mandap in the same shoes he came in with so after the ceremony, the girls ransom the shoes off to the groom. Sometimes, there’s bargaining, usually the groom has a plan to get them back.
- China - Chinese Tea Ceremony Both families perform the hairdressing and capping rituals for the bride and groom, similar to many other cultures. The groom then goes to the bride’s home and is blocked by the bridesmaids. Both families are formally introduced during the Tea Ceremony and together they drink Tsao Chün, a Chinese tea. After the Tsao Chün tea has been finished, the couple would receive lai see, a lucky red envelope, given by the family that is filled with money and sometimes jewelry. A feast is served at the end of the wedding ceremonies.
- West Africa – Pre-Wedding Rituals
The groom-to-be first declares his intentions to his father, grandfather, or uncle who then, if he is in agreement, meets with the father of the "intended" bride-to-be. The elders will then collectively decide if the wedding is to be or not to be. Kola nuts are offered and exchanged to seal the deal as well as to celebrate when the official wedding announcement is made. Other gifts are also exchanged such as drinks like palm wine and tobacco.
Brides-to-be are kept in fattening rooms where they "plumped up" before they are sent off to their husbands' homes. Before the bride goes to her new husband's home, she will receive some going-away presents from her family that will help her set up her new home. Gifts include clothes, jewelry, a hollowed-out and dried calabash (used to clean rice, carry water, and as food containers), and more. The day of her wedding the bride is bathed by the older women in her family as they "cleanse her of her childhood".
- India – Marrying a Tree Traditionally, "manglik" (an astrological combination when Mars and Saturn are both under the 7th house) women are required to go through a ceremony marrying them to a peepal tree, a banana tree or a silver or golden idol of the Hindu god Vishnu in a ceremony known as "kumbh vivah". Legend has it these women are apparently "cursed" and thought to be likely to cause their husband an early death. In order to counter this, they must first be married to a tree and the tree cut down to break the curse.
These were only a few of the traditions we found during our search for fascinating wedding traditions. We’ll revisit this topic again soon and bring you more of our findings. If you know or heard of any interesting wedding traditions we did not mention, please post your comment below and earn some Mirelli reward points!