Most of us have attended more weddings than we can count, with bride’s dressed in white, bridesmaids (and occasionally groomsmen) dressed in pastels, and a few of us have managed to catch the bouquet or garter. Many of us have also experienced a wedding ceremony first hand, with all the Western rituals. Yet, how familiar are we with the customs of other cultures, traditions that have taken place for hundreds and thousands of years? While American culture has managed to permeate the traditions in many countries, many wedding customs around the world still differ from popular Western practice.
Kenya: Spitting at the Bride
In Kenya, the Massai father spits on the bride’s breasts and head. Following this blessing, he leaves with the groom without looking back (so as not to turn to stone).
In Sweden there isn’t any spitting; only kissing, when the bridegroom (or bride) exits the room. In the event that either should leave, for any reason, the remaining newlywed becomes free game and every guest of the opposite sex is allowed to kiss him or her.
India: Henna Tattoos
In India the bride-to-be is painted with elaborate designs made from a plant-based dye called henna. The menhdi “tattoos” are temporary yet extremely detailed and require several hours for the bride and her friends to apply.
China: The Crying Ritual
In the Sichuan Province, the Tujia people begin to cry thirty days prior to the wedding. Each day the young woman cries for an hour and is joined ten days later by her mother. After twenty days, the grandmother joins into this meaningful ritual of love and devotion.
China: The Shooting of the Bride
Another group in China, the Yugurs, allows the groom to shoot three arrows (without the tip) at the bride. During the ceremony he snaps the arrows in two to demonstrate that he will honor and love his wife for the rest of their lives.
Congo: No Smiling Allowed
In the African Congo, smiling is not allowed. The wedding ceremony is considered a very solemn event and the bride and groom are not allowed to smile, even in wedding photos.
The Traditional Western Wedding
While the customs of other cultures may seem unusual to us, many of the traditions that we take for granted might seem strange to people from other countries. For example, white has become the predominate color for the bride’s dress and veil, and the white theme (representing purity) often permeates the entire affair.
While the giving of a ring (symbolizing eternal love) has been a tradition for ages, today presenting a diamond ring has become the expected norm. Diamond distributors and jewelers, like Michael Hill, offer bridal sets and wedding bands that are beautifully designed and crafted to last a lifetime.
Additionally, the typical Western ceremony includes a wedding party, elaborate venues and decorations, semi to formal attire, music, a tiered cake, champagne, presents for the bridal party, and often a complete meal for the guests. The average cost of a wedding in 2012 averaged around $20,000 USD!
With this in mind, crying for an hour a day before the wedding may take on a whole new meaning!Add a comment Add a comment