Fascinating Wedding Traditions From Around The World Pt 4

Jamaica

  • Villagers line up in the street to take a look at the bride. It’s customary for them to call out negative comments if her appearance isn’t up to snuff. If the majority is critical, she goes home and makes a second try at looking good.
  • The wedding cake is of great significance in the Jamaican culture. Traditionally, the Jamaican wedding cake is a fruit cake laced with a dizzying amount of rum. As soon as the engagement is announced, it is the responsibility of the grandmother of the groom to soak dried fruit in white overproof rum for the duration of the engagement. The grandmother or mother of the bride then bakes the cake a week before the wedding. It is then carried to the venue in a procession led by the matriarchs of the village on the morning of the wedding.
  • A piece of lace from the bride’s mother’s wedding gown is typically incorporated into the bride’s gown, which, along with those of the bridesmaids, is made by a local seamstress. It is from the bride’s wedding gown that her children’s christening gowns are made.
  • Whilst the bride is getting ready, unmarried women sing humorous and tongue in cheek songs bemoaning the bride’s soon to be married status, and removal from their group.

Japan

  • Shinto is the ethnic religion in Japan with a huge impact on the country’s culture and its ceremonial traditions. Even today, more than 79% of Japanese people still belong to Shinto temples. Still, a large majority of people in and even outside of Japan are not that familiar with how the religion influences different ceremonies and events in Japan. The same is the case with Japanese wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to many. Keep reading to learn more about some interesting wedding traditions in Japan.

  • On her wedding day the Japanese bride, having a traditional Shinto ceremony, wears white from head to toe, including makeup, kimono and hood. White denotes her maiden status; the hood hides her “horns of jealousy” she feels towards her mother-in-law.
  • The sake’ sharing ceremony, the ‘san-san-kudo’, is common in Buddhist and Shinto Japanese weddings. There will be three stacked cups of sake and both bride and groom have to drink taking three sips from each, making nine sips in total. Ku or 9 means good luck in Japanese culture and some believe the three sips each time represent love, wisdom and happiness while others believe they represent earth, heaven, and mankind. Some believe they represent the three couples, the bride and groom, the groom’s parents, and the bride’s parents. However, some believe they represent the biggest human flaws, which are passion, hatred, and ignorance that the couple will overcome together in life.
  • Wedding speeches hold a great importance in Japanese wedding ceremonies. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other relatives stand in line and wait for their turn to wish the couple well. These speeches can be moralistic tales about marriage, but they can also be heartfelt messages of love from family and friends.

Korea

  • In North Korea, your wedding isn’t just ‘your’ moment, because the government and Workers’ Party often intervene. There’s no such thing as a bouquet being thrown in the DPRK, instead newlyweds bring flowers to pay respects to the statue of Supreme Leader Kim Il-sung immediately after their official ceremony. Wedding photos are also taken at the statue. It’s not forced upon the newlyweds, but most couples feel obligated. There’s also one very important rule: you cannot walk down the aisle on 15 April or 16 February, the birthdays of the former leaders.
  • Most ceremonies are still held in the traditional way, passed down for generations. If you’ve ever watched a Korean drama, most often they depict the bride and groom wearing traditional hanbok dresses, with their neighbours and relatives coming to congratulate them while enjoying food and liquor, which is true to life for most North Koreans.
  • According to Korean tradition, grooms give their mother-in-law wild geese or ducks, which represent the groom’s pure intentions and loyalty to his bride. In a more modern reincarnation, brides and grooms exchange wooden geese and ducks on their wedding day as a sign of their commitment.

  • When a wedding is over in Korea, friends of the groom remove his socks, tie a rope around his ankles and start beating his feet with fish in order to prepare him for his first night as a married man. Maybe we’re missing something?

Latvia

  • On her wedding day, a traditional Latvian bride must wear her white wedding dress, and veil, until midnight. The women at the reception celebration then remove her wedding veil and pass it down to one of the younger sisters, who will presumably, marry next. Once her wedding gown and veil are removed, “the bride” becomes “the wife,” and she wears a married woman’s cap.

  • Sometimes at a Latvian wedding reception, the new bride is kidnapped by the groomsmen. The groom must pay a ransom, such as a song or a round of drinks, to get her back.

Lebanon

  • In Lebanon, the wedding celebration, the Zaffeh, gets off to a rowdy start with music, belly dancing and shouting at both the groom’s and bride’s homes courtesy of the couple’s friends, family and occasionally pro dancers and musicians. Eventually everyone ends up at the bride’s house where the couple is showered with blessings and flower petals as they leave for the ceremony.
  • Mezza style is the traditional style of food, lots of it. After the food its time to dance it all off and Lebanese weddings usually last till wee hours of the morning with lots and lots of dancing! It’s a very joyous, alcohol infused,hookah smoking event.

Libya

  • The Libyan wedding ceremony is usually Islamic, as that is the country’s state religion, and is commonly officiated by an imam.
  • The signing of the marriage contract takes place in the bride’s home, and the ceremony and festivities may take place on another day entirely.
  • Historically, the bride’s body must be covered and her face veiled, but more recently, while still following those guidelines, she might wear a traditional Western wedding gown.
  • In the Islamic wedding ceremony, the newlyweds eat their wedding dinner in seclusion from guests, and the bride is showered with rice and candy as she is escorted to her new home.

Lithuania

  • Traditionally, Lithuanian weddings have been community affairs, involving the guests as much as possible, not only in singing and dancing, but also assisting in such ceremonies as removing the bride’s wreath, presenting gifts, and helping to cut the wedding cake.
  • A Master of Ceremonies, the svotas, selected by the groom, often “directs” activities throughout the wedding.
  • When a bride first enters her new home, she places a red sash or towel on the stove to gain the goodwill of the household spirits.
  • Lithuanian newlyweds are showered with grain and water, and sometimes clothed in furs, representing the hope that they will be rich and successful.

Malta

Modern marriages in Malta are quite similar to those in other European countries, but this was not always the case. Here’s a glimpse as to what it would have been like in the past.

  • The daughter was not always consulted in the choice of her future husband. When the girl’s parents realised that it was time for their daughter to get married, they would display a pot of sweets on a stone bracket on the outer wall of their house. Once a young man would notice the pot, he would then go to find an older man who could act as a marriage broker (ħuttab) so that his message could reach the girl’s parents. If they agreed, a contract would be settled upon and the girl’s dowry stipulated. The young man would send his beloved a fish with a gold ring in its mouth. The betrothal feast would then be celebrated. This was referred to as ‘Ir-Rabta’.
  • During the ‘Ir-Rabta feast the bride would to be introduced to her future husband in the presence of both sets of parents. She would be presented with an engagement ring in the form of two engraved hands joined together, as a symbol of fidelity. She would reciprocate by presenting her future husband with a handkerchief edged with lace.
  • On the wedding day, a group of musicians and singers would accompany the couple to church singing verses of praise to the new couple. Grain, nuts and wheat were showered on them on their return from the church. The guests would stay on for the wedding banquet to which they often contribute by offering wine as well as food. The bride would dine in a separate room but at the end of the meal she would join her husband by sitting near him and even drink from his glass.
  • Sometimes there would be dancing with castanets, a custom which may have originated during Aragonese rule in the 15th century. During the meal the guests placed gifts on the bride’s lap while she sat at the top end of the room.
  • The bride used to wear a different headdress for her wedding. If she wore the ‘għonnella’, also known as ‘faldetta, this meant that she had already been married. During those times, many women became widows as men were usually employed as soldiers or seamen and many lost their lives when still young. If the bride was a maiden, she would wear either a fawn coloured hat called the ‘kappell’ or a white veil called the ‘mant’.

  • Eight days after the wedding day the bride would leave her father’s house and be received with pomp by her husband in their new home. This is referred to as ‘Il-Ħarġa’.

Mauritius

  • Many brides-to-be in other countries go on strict diets to lose weight before the wedding. Not so in Mauritius, where young girls are forced to pack on the pounds before their weddings. The chubbier she is, the better for the husband who is thought to be wealthy with such a well-fed wife.

Mexico

  • Mexican couples typically have sponsors when marrying who may be grandparents, parents, godparents, relatives, or friends. These sponsors act as mentors to the couple during their engagement and after their wedding, but also provide financial support to the bride and groom in the form of paying for some of the wedding costs or purchasing something specific for the wedding ceremony. Sponsors are usually honored by being mentioned in the wedding program and some sponsors gift a Bible to the couple during the ceremony.
  • The bride’s dress is to be sewn by her family members at the groom’s family expense. The type of dress varies and can be a Flamenco-type dress consisting of ruffles at the bottom or a narrow dress with no ruffles, with the bride wearing a blue slip under their dress. Regardless of style however, the bride’s intent in her attire is to respect the church’s dress code and because of this, she may wear a bolero jacket to cover bare shoulders and a mantilla veil to cover her head.
  • In a traditional Mexican wedding the bridesmaids and groomsmen are paired together for the ceremony and are then assigned tasks to perform during the ceremony. The color of dress worn by bridesmaids, the cummerbund or tie worn by groomsmen typically match and flower girls and ring bearers might also be dressed to match the bride and groom.
  • Mexican wedding ceremonies consist of a combination of traditional Catholic and cultural elements. The majority of ceremonies involve a Catholic mass and in homage to Mexico’s devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, it is common to have the couple present flowers to the Virgin Mary during the ceremony in hopes that she will pray for them during their marriage.
  • The bride and groom typically kneel on pillows during the wedding mass, which may have been gifted by a sponsor and red rose beads are tossed at the couple as they exit the church to symbolize good luck.

Moldova

A Moldovan wedding is also a complex custom, which has various traditional forms all over the country and combines economics, law, ritual and folkloric elements. The acts from the marriage foundation are ritual and ceremonial meant to bring prosperity, fecundity, happiness and social integration to the young family. Moldavian marriage is a bouquet of traditions and culture.

  • The modern wedding ceremony includes the old wedding custom of bowing to the parents as a token of gratitude and respect, although the ceremony itself is not the focus of festivities and can be a small, understated event leading up to the wedding party proper, which is usually an all-night celebration where people sit together and are served with food and wine.
  • The traditional wedding party is magnificent in its arrangement and intense from the moral ethical point of view. The singing and dancing continues until daybreak. At dawn everyone sits down for a minute and the bride is given a child to hold in her arms. According to tradition, the bride will then be sure to have a home full of children. The young husband then leads her to the threshold of their house but before they step over the threshold, the couple is showered with grain, a sign of  prosperity.

Mongolia

The traditional Mongolian wedding ceremony has slowly changed over time. Still the Mongolian people are trying to keep the traditional wedding rituals while also caring about the younger generations’ interests, by mixing modern wedding notions with traditional ones. Most Mongolian people care about the in-law’s family roots and say that the future son-in-law’s father should accept their daughter and the future daughter-in-law’s mother should accept their son. This saying means that the son-in-law will treat his future wife how his father treated his wife, and that the daughter-in-law will treat her future husband how her mother treated her husband.

  • Each Mongolian ‘aimag’ (state) has customs that are a little different when it comes to Mongolian wedding ceremonies. The bride and groom choose their wedding witnesses, they traditionally choose a sister-in-law. In Mongolian families the daughter in law is like their own daughter so sister in laws are the same as sisters.
  • At the wedding ceremony Mongolian people wear long sleeved clothing that cover their shoulders. The long sleeves and covered shoulders represent a good and complete life for the couple.
  • The Mongolian Wedding Palace is where most people celebrate their wedding. The bride and groom stand arm in arm and with are two witnesses, usually the sister-in-laws who stand in front of the official. The official will ask the couple if they will marry one another. The bride and groom will answer “Yes”, after that they will sign their wedding documents and the wedding official will have witnessed that they signed the document as well. They place the rings on after the wedding official pronounces them husband and wife.

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