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Japanese Wedding Traditions That are Truly One-of-a-Kind

Japanese Wedding Traditions
The Japanese wedding traditions are a unique blend of what is rooted in their culture and how their beliefs come together to bind a union. Here, we discuss the traditions that the Japanese practice when tying the knot...
Naomi Sarah
Last Updated: Mar 4, 2018
The Japanese when following their traditional arrangement of putting a wedding together, perform sacred rituals and proceedings that is both an ancient practice and one that is very much revered till date. A lot of Japanese people want to get married through this method, where many old folk parents and grandparents will insist on doing it the traditional way.

A rich heritage backing proves to be quite the foundation to such a mesh of cultural solidness, where no other culture has the Japanese's subdued traditions and welcoming facade. The wedding is traditionally held in a shrine, known as the Shinto style ceremony. The engagement when done, is called the yunio, where the gifts exchanged symbolize different ideas like 'growth', 'child-bearing woman', 'wealth' and 'good will'. Gifts of the sort include konbu, linen thread, dried cuttlefish and so on.
Japanese Wedding Customs and Traditions
What we're used to when it comes to the old-fashioned Christian white wedding dress and dark suit, dims in contrast to what a Japanese wedding unfolds being a completely different and symbolic affair. You'd think it was some kind of elaborate initiation than a wedding taking place with the various outfit changes as part of the Japanese traditional clothing that the bride and groom are seen in during the entire course of the ceremony. Let's now take a look at what is customary as part of the Japanese wedding style proceedings.
The Wedding Ceremony
Wedding couple
The Japanese traditional clothing finds the bride dressed up in a white silk kimono known as the shiromuku. Hair is also done in what is called bunkintakashimada, where tortoise-shell combs, ornaments and other intricate pieces are added to her hairdo in the quintessential Japanese bride hairdo. A white cloth and veil covers her head and face where she is given a white-faced look, with makeup applied to give her face that effect. The bride unlike others in varied traditions, changes her bridal wear repeatedly, wearing traditional garments that are intricately detailed with symbolic representations of flowers and cranes in one of many kimonos. Another special outfit that is worn by the bride, is the uchikike gown, which is worn over a kimono and adorned with fine embroidery work, and ornaments.

The groom is seen in an all black kimono (that can also be in brown/gray), with a hakama draped over it with a slit running down the center, to divide it like pants. His family crest is placed strategically in five parts of the outfit, known as the montsuki.
The Reception Celebration
Bride and groom
The reception which follows is called kekkon hiroen where the dress etiquette is not dictated to the guests, although a mix of western wear, and kimonos are spotted. The reception then flows into the next part called the harai gushi where the priest blesses the union of the couple using a sacred branch to perform this. The popular ritual then follows called san-san-kudo, which is where the couple and the families drink the sake from three different cups depending on how the particular ritual is practiced by the families. The couple first drinks the sake, after which the groom reads out the words of commitment, or vows, followed by the priest who reads the wedding contract. Sake which is a rice drink, with a small percentage of alcohol, is served first to the bride and groom, with their respective families, followed by the guests. Starting from the smallest cup to the largest of the three, the bride and groom take three sips from each of these, where the families mimic the same act. This then binds the two families together for as long as the couple is united.
Giving of Gifts
Decorated envelope
Guests are told sometimes through the invitation itself, on how much to present the bride and groom in terms of money. It is known as oshugi or cash gift. It is sealed in an intricately colorful and decorated envelope called the shugi-bukuro with the guest's name scrawled on it, which is given to the couple during the reception. The amounts when not specified then depend on the guests on how much to give.
Folding of the Cranes
Colorful cranes
It is customary for the bride's father (or family, in some cases) to fold a 1000 origami cranes, seen on display as a mark of good fortune, fidelity, and happiness for her marriage, before she is sent off to her new family.
Toast Cry
It is a traditional part of the reception for a relative to make a toast, while then screaming out loud the word bonzai three times, while guests follow in a repetitive fashion after he/she has said the cheer.
Japanese Wedding Favors
Japanese gift items
The giveaways for the parting guests usually consist of Japanese-esque items like sake cups, chopsticks and folding fans. These gifts along with other kinds that speak of the Japanese culture are what are traditionally offered. Sometimes guests can actually select what they want as a wedding souvenir (hikidemono) from catalogs provided in present day Japanese style weddings.
The Japanese wedding tradition is really an experience one ought to witness, being an elaborate affair of something that isn't what we're accustomed to. This one-of-a-kind wedding proceeding gives us an idea on just how extraordinary cultures can be in their own way when two people make a commitment to get married.
Traditional Japanese Wedding Bride And Bridesmaids In Colorful Pink Kimonos
Colorful Origami Cranes Paper Fold
Japanese Wedding Ceremony