A Jamaican wedding is fun and has its own fair share of traditions and customs. Some of the wedding traditions are still followed today, while others have been discarded as people in Jamaica adopted new and modern lifestyles. Nevertheless, if you are planning to hold a Jamaican wedding, here are some of the interesting wedding traditions, that you can include in it.
Unique Jamaican Wedding Customs and Traditions
Most of the Jamaican weddings are community affairs, in which anybody and anyone is invited to enjoy the feast. The typical Jamaican wedding food consists of rice, goat curry and rum punch. For preparing the curry of goat, the animal is first killed and then cooked before the wedding day. As for the beverages, besides rum punch, alcoholic beverages, including wine and champagne are served too.
At Jamaican wedding receptions, a dark rum-fruitcake is served to all the guests. This cake is full of dry fruits, such as prunes, raisins and cherries. Those close friends and relatives, who are unable to attend the reception due to some reason, are thereafter mailed this cake, once the reception is over. In Caribbean countries, the various ingredients of the cake, such as rum, dry fruits, eggs, etc. may be send as wedding presents to the couple, before the reception. In some families, the wedding cake is soaked for a year so that it has its own distinctive flavor on the wedding day!
In olden days, a large number of cakes were prepared for the wedding, which were covered with lace and carried to the wedding venue, by a group of married women. The women wore white Jamaican clothing and head ties for this procession and did not speak to one another, till they reached the wedding venue.
The Jamaican wedding reception lasts till the sun comes up in the morning. Anyone who comes for the reception, is served food and no one is ever refused hospitality. The guests are expected to stay late at the wedding reception. In some families, it is considered inappropriate etiquette to leave very early from the wedding reception.
At a Jamaican wedding, it is considered all right to show up uninvited. In Jamaica, the more guests there are at the wedding, the better it is. Today, the wedding reception can take place anywhere. However, in earlier days, a booth was specifically built from coconut boughs at the groom's house and the reception was planned there. At the reception, the dark cake made from rum was cut, followed by the attendees playing ring games and eating the scrumptious food.
As for the entertainment, ring games and dances on traditional music are planned at the reception. The music is played by guitar, fife and banjo. The common dance at the weddings is quadrille, which all the family members, the couple, the maid of honor as well as the best man participate in. A fun tradition is to bid on the bride and the groom. The money that is collected through this bidding is then presented to the couple, which they can use for starting their new life.
The arrangements for a Jamaican wedding are primarily the responsibility of the bride and the groom itself. Like an American wedding, in a Jamaican wedding, the bride is escorted by her father or both father and mother, down the aisle. Although now, if the father is absent at the wedding, the mother escorts the bride down the aisle.
The bride's face is covered with a veil and it is the husband who lifts it during the ceremony. If the wedding is in a village, all the village people stand on the streets to have a look at the bride. The couple signs the wedding certificate, during the ceremony, to officially declare themselves as man and wife.
One of the strangest traditions is that on the day of the wedding, the street near the church is lined up with people. The people wait for the bride to show up and if they feel that she is not looking good enough, they criticize her openly. In such a case, the bride has to go back and put her make-up in place, so as to look more presentable and attractive!
Another unique thing about a Jamaican wedding is that the wedding reception is extended to the Sunday after the ceremony. On the Sunday following the wedding, traditionally known as Tun T'anks Sunday, all the wedding invitees attend the service at church and after that, go to the house of the bride's parents, where a big second reception is planned!
As you can see, there are so many unique and interesting traditions associated with a Jamaican wedding. So, include a few of these in your wedding as well and make it a memorable, surprising and special day for yourself as well as your invitees!