Wedding Traditions Around the World
Whether or not you’re into the traditions of weddings, they exist in every country and culture you can think of. Here in the United States we have tossing the bouquet and not seeing the bride before the wedding, but what do a few other countries do to celebrate a day of love and fun?
In China, the date is not so easily set. Most couples will consult a fortune teller to find a date for their wedding using their birthdays and traditional Chinese lucky numbers. On the morning of the wedding, the groom and groomsmen would make their way to the bride’s home where he and his friends would have to negotiate and haggle with the bridesmaids to enter the house. This usually included using his wits and money to bribe himself in. Once the offer was good enough the groom would join the bride’s parents for tea as a parting ritual. Weddings in China are a way for a family to show their wealth, therefore meals are typically 10-12 courses with very expensive meal options. Along with expensive food, the bride and groom would change from traditional Chinese wedding garb to a western style dress, and depending on the family’s wealth they may have several wardrobe changes after that.
Weddings in Scotland are rich, colorful, and involve a lot more than just wearing a kilt. Unlike our US bachelor parties, the groomsmen will capture the groom, cover him in feathers, soot, and flour then parades him through the village as they yell and make a scene. This ritual is not as commonly practiced anymore but is still seen in a few rural areas of Scotland. For the bride’s apparel, they wear a traditional white dress but keep a sixpence hidden in their shoe and a sprig of white heather in their bouquets to bring good luck to their marriage. The groom traditionally pays for the wedding dress as the bride buys the “wedding sark” or shirt worn by the groom. Before the ceremony it is tradition to do the wedding walk, this is where the groom accompanies the maid of honor with the bride and best man following. After the ceremony, the newlyweds leave as a couple and the best man and maid of honor leave together. For the wedding walk to yield good luck they must cross water twice. At the reception, the traditional grand march is often the first dance to take place. It begins with the couple marching to bagpipes followed by the bridal party, parents, and lastly the guests! Finally, the guests accompany the bride and groom to their house, a piece of cake is broken over the bride’s head, and the groom carries her over the threshold to protect her from bad spirits. The minister then blesses the house, and the newlyweds, after this the ceremony is finished.
Egyptian weddings have taken a lot of cues from Western traditions, but still, have some very interesting activities. The night before the wedding the bride and all her friends and family will get together for a Henna party. Henna is believed to be good luck, and in ancient times it was customary to dip your whole hands and feet in henna, now that is outdated and most time an artist is hired to work on the women. In most weddings, there is a colorful procession to take the bride to the groom’s house. Beautifully decorated cars take both families to the venue accompanied by a noisy parade. The marriage is typically performed by a Maazon, and once the marriage certificate is signed the bride and groom will put their hands together and press their thumbs against one another’s to be covered with a white handkerchief and bound. A reading from the Quran is read and the marriage is confirmed. The handkerchief is then removed by the Maazon or a single man to be blessed for his own wedding. Legally the couple is married but can not stay together until after the reception. Unlike the US, Egyptian receptions can happen the next day, next week, or even a year after the ceremony has taken place! Most Egyptian receptions start around 10 pm and go on till the next morning. At the end of the night, the couple retires to their bridal suite while the guests throw wheat into the air, which is a sign of fertility!
With all these difference between countries, a few things stay the same: a couple commits their lives together, everybody has a great time, and some serious dry cleaning is needed after! Let us take care of all your wedding needs no matter what traditions you put your clothes through!