The word 'wedding' comes from the Greek word, 'wed', meaning 'pledge', and that's exactly what a wedding means. It's a pledge; a commitment made to one another in the presence of God and various witnesses. From time immemorial, various kinds of wedding traditions have been incorporated into the wedding ceremony. Wedding traditions differ from one religion to another, one region to another and one country to another. There are several unusual wedding traditions around the world, some of which make people smile, while some help penetrate the seriousness and depth of the bond of marriage. After all traditions are just ways to get various points across and of course have fun on the way! Let's have a look at some of them.
Color of Bride's Wedding Attire
While white is the color for the bride in the West, with lovely white gowns being symbols of joy, in China red is the color of the wedding dress, symbolizing love and joy. However, Chinese women are now seen to be letting go of this red tradition and are getting married in white gowns these days. Moreover, in Mexico, the bride wears a brightly colored, Flamenco-style dress with ruffles at the hem. In Ireland, it is considered bad omen for the bride or anyone attending the wedding to wear green.
Thirteen Gold Coins
In the Mexican wedding tradition, the bridegroom presents his bride with thirteen gold coins or arras, as a symbol of his utmost trust, commitment and confidence. It's a sign that he from this day onwards is placing all his wealth into the hands of his beloved whom he trusts. The bride's acceptance of the thirteen gold coins indicates that she accepts the responsibility of being a good steward with that which she has been entrusted with. The number 13 stands for Jesus and His twelve disciples.
It's part of the Cretan wedding tradition to bake the wedding bread. The island of Crete gives a lot of importance to the symbolic wedding bread, whose aroma represents the sweetness of marriage and the fragrance of blossoming love between the bride and groom. This wedding bread is no ordinary bread! It's a braided bread that has been decorated with different shapes of dough pieces like stars, roses, leaves, etc. The dough for the bread contains spices, lemon peels, orange peels and rum for flavor. It is also decorated with candied and dried fruits.
The Apple Kiss
One of the funny wedding traditions is the apple kiss tradition of China. This is an interesting tradition, which triggers a lot of laughter at the wedding ceremony. Relatives or friends hang an apple on a thread and ask the couple to bite on either side of the apple facing each other. The bride and groom are then asked to bite into the apple, and at the same time are asked to display their love and affection for one another. As the couple edges forward to bite into the apple, their friends pull the string and quickly hoist out the apple, causing the couple's lips to meet. The couple then have to kiss instead of biting into the apple.
Shattered Vase and Utensils
In Italy, it is customary for the bride and groom to shatter a vase at the end of the wedding ceremony. The greater the number of tiny pieces the vase breaks into represents the greater the number of years the couple will live happily with each other. The German wedding tradition involves another sort of shattered cookware tradition, in which they shatter several dishes before the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom are then expected to clean up the mess. This tradition is believed to prepare the couple for their lives together and bring them good luck. Then again in Denmark, the bride and groom at the end of the wedding ceremony shatter a beer mug. The pieces have to be collected by maidens. The girl with the biggest shard of glass is believed to get married next.
Today, we find that couples across the globe have merged ancient beliefs with modern customs, just so that they can pay their respect to the sentiments of the past, while keeping pace with the present times.