Different wedding traditions have existed for as long as the notion of marriage itself. We’ve are already used to seeing certain customs and practices, such as exchanging wedding rings, throwing the bridal bouquet, showering the bride and groom with rice, and tying cans to car bumpers.
Some wedding traditions are, however, quite different, and certain customs may even seem a little bizarre.
Each continent on Earth has its diverse palette of cultures, religions, and customs. Here are the selected few of wedding traditions you’ve probably never heard of before.
Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. To accomplish this, many embark on a weight loss journey, ruthlessly cutting carbs, fats, and proteins out of their diets weeks before the ceremony.
Meanwhile, many cultures around the world have an entirely different view of bridal beauty.
Mauritanian brides, for example, even enter special “fat camps” to actually gain weight before their wedding. It’s believed that the bigger the bride is, the wealthier the groom.
Isn’t there a better way to remember how happy you were on your wedding day than seeing your ceremony photographs where everyone’s smiling? Well, not for wedding parties in Congo.
The bride and groom must refrain from smiling for the entire ceremony, as it’s believed to be bad luck if they don’t. Also, their ceremony won’t be taken seriously otherwise.
Australianwritings contributor and anthropologist Sarah Anderson testifies to a strange, but beautiful Australian wedding custom that revolves entirely around stones as symbols of steadiness, support, and persistence.
The tradition requires the wedding guests to hold different stones during the ceremony and to place them in a decorative “unity bowl” afterwards. The couple will keep this bowl to remind them of their friends’ and family’s love and support.
Another interesting wedding custom comes from Ireland, where it’s believed that a bride must dance with her feet on the ground in order to interfere with evil fairies’ attempt to carry her away.
As fairies are always attracted to beautiful things, the bride is believed to be best protected if she “stays grounded” for the entire wedding ceremony.
A chubby, curly-haired Cupid is often seen in cards and cartoons, shooting love arrows towards future couples to indicate they’re about to fall in love. Something similar can be witnessed in Yugur (a Chinese ethnic minority) wedding ceremonies, but perhaps a bit less romantic.
Before the ceremony, the groom must actually shoot his bride three times using a bow and blunt-tipped arrows. After this custom (certainly unpleasant for the bride) is carried out, the groom must break all the arrows to commemorate the couple’s love for each other.
Vivid India can boast many interesting customs, and this one is surely worth knowing.
As soon as the groom is near the wedding altar (which he must approach barefoot), the hunt for his shoes that are left behind begins. The bride’s family has to attempt to steal them, while the groom’s family tries to prevent that from happening.
If the bridal party manages to get a hold of the groom’s shoes, his family must pay a ransom to get them back.
There’s nothing more private and romantic than the first night of the honeymoon unless you happen to live in certain villages in Africa.
As the bride is sure to be inexperienced in lovemaking, the couple is often accompanied by an older woman (most commonly the bride’s mother) who needs to show the girl “how it’s done” on her first night with her new husband.
If you feel unlucky to be born as a prudish Virgo or a sensitive Cancer, imagine being born as a Manglik in India.
This is believed to be a very unlucky astrological sign when it comes to marriage. Every individual who happens to be born as a Manglik must either marry another person who was as unlucky as them, or even marry a fruit, tree, or a Vishnu idol first, to make sure bad luck is “washed away”.
After the couple is officially married, they must cut a log together using a handsaw, without getting to change their attire first. The symbol behind this custom? As the couple must work together on resolving difficulties in the future, they must start off the right way.
If the couple has a hard time dealing with this task, it’s not uncommon to see their fathers lend a helping hand.
For wedding parties from Serbia, a vessel filled with grains of wheat represents fertility and happiness in marriage. The bride must first throw the wheat out around the doorstep, and then toss the empty vessel on the roof.
If the vessel stays on the roof, it’s believed that the marriage will be stable and longevous.
Learning about various customs and traditions that come from different cultures is a beautiful way to indirectly experience the way people from all corners of the world live, think, and communicate. Wedding traditions are no exception.
Each custom has a story behind it, and no matter how close or far it may be from what we’ve experienced in our cultures, it’s always fun to learn how other people perceive and approach the concepts and practices we all share.
Serena Dorf is a content writer and a blogger at A-writer, online assignment help, and EssayWritingLab, and a periodical contributor for edu birdie, Rush My Essay, topdissertations, and research paper writing service. She is an experienced writer and journalist interested in classic American literature and has recently started learning Swedish.