Over the centuries, weddings have undergone changes in their significance and value. Nevertheless, in various regions, this crucial day is still celebrated with much enthusiasm. In this article, we offer you a glimpse into diverse wedding traditions around the world. So, sit back, relax, and join us on a romantic, thrilling, sportive, and intimate global journey!
Starting a new relationship with misfortune is the last thing a newly married couple desires. Thus, a few German pre-wedding traditions persist until today. One of them dictates that the groom should not lay eyes on the bride’s wedding attire before the wedding ceremony starts, as it is believed to bring ill-luck. Apart from the fabric, attention is also paid to the bride’s footwear. The bride is expected to pay for her shoes using cent coins and insert one cent in her left shoe to ensure financial prosperity. Additionally, the items the bride carries in her hands hold significance. This includes a bouquet, which she tosses over her shoulder, and it accidentally lands in the hands of the next person to get married. Interestingly, this special wedding tradition, now commonly seen at almost every German wedding, originated from the American continent.
As a result of movies and cultural exchange, these customs are spreading rapidly. Germans seem to embrace the concept of opposites, as it is believed to bring good luck if a couple starts off separately and then comes together. Another classic example of the old German wedding tradition is that the night before the wedding, the bride and groom are not supposed to sleep in the same room. However, after the wedding, they will share a bed, but there are rules to follow: the groom must carry his new wife over the threshold of the room. This tradition is said to have originated in the belief that it would drive away evil spirits. There is also another theory, which is less romantic and more controversial: being married against her will, the bride may resist joining her husband and instead wants to follow her parents after the ceremony, making it necessary for the husband to carry her.
There are also a bunch of regional traditions. In Bavaria, the “Maschkern” can be considered to be an old ancestor of the modern TV show “The Masked Singer” with a personal touch. Friends and family members wear masks while telling anecdotes and stories of the lives of the future husband and wife. The “old flame” – an older woman who appears at the wedding – tries to convince the spouse to choose her instead of the foreseen wife, thus testing the reliability of his decision.
In a traditional Mexican wedding, a custom that has a close connection to Christianity and bears similarities to Germany involves the use of coins. During the ceremony, the groom presents 13 gold coins to the bride, known as “arras,” which symbolize the 12 disciples and Jesus. Additionally, the couple is bound together by a “lazo” which ensures eternal unity in their marriage. Guests of Mexican weddings can look forward to the particularly delicious wedding cake – a blend of dried fruits and nuts.
Living in Fiji, after having decided who you want to marry, you need to look for a whale’s tooth, as this is a required gift to bring to the father-in-law when proposing for the hand of the wished woman. A slight personal remark from my side: in case you want to follow this tradition, please make sure that animal wellbeing is respected in any case. Buying parts of once lived animals often supports hunting after those. Thus, maybe you can find a beautiful fake tooth.
Demanding for the hand of a girl such as in Fiji is already considered old-fashioned in modern days. Moreover, arranged marriages are not that common anymore as they used to be. But still, they are happening every day. Based on this background the cultural interpretation of the woman’s behaviour in Kyrgyzstan is highly disputed: Crying soon-to-be-brides were considered as giving good luck for the future. This interpretation made it easy to legitimize arranged and forced marriages.
Even wedding traditions know how to travel internationally. Movies and wedding ceremonies from celebrities influence parties all over the world. Let inspire yourself and make your wedding an influential one respecting all different kinds of traditions and customs.
The process of selecting the wedding date is quite elaborate and involves using the dates of birth of the future husband and wife as a basis. In the Daur region, however, the Chinese wedding superstition process is even more intricate, as the couple is required to locate a chicken with a healthy liver before setting a date. Even after all this effort, the work is not yet complete. The couples must ensure that all their guests, who are there to challenge the couple and try to stay in their sleeping room for as long as possible, are kicked out before they can enjoy their twosome.
Additionally, a Chinese wedding custom tea ceremony is a common practice where family members take a sip of tea and hand over a red envelope to the newlywed. Crying is also a significant part of the wedding preparations, and within the Tuja culture, the bride is required to cry for an hour every day for a month before the wedding. This is not a custom that suits spontaneous individuals, but it is believed to guarantee a fortunate wedding within this culture.
When it becomes crosscultural…
Maybe crying is an alternative method to get liquid out of your body. In Borneo those strategies may be quite useful. Among the Tidong people, the wedding partners are locked for three days and are not allowed to shit or pee. Quite hard challenge!
Kisses are not only given in France for greeting but also in Sweden at wedding parties: if the groom exits the room, every male tries to kiss the bride and the women hurry to the husband as soon as the women is invisible. If you are interested in kissing traditions, you can dive more deeply into this topic by reading our article Kisses around the world.
Did you know that engagement rings have symbolized the never ending of the love already since old Egypt times and spread all over the world?
Barefood wedding? In Hindu wedding ceremonies it is common to steal the shoes of the groom. The woman is also missing something that brides have in other cultural circles: jewelry. Instead In India mehndi is used, painting the hands and partly arms. But: it does not primarily contribute to the women’s beauty but much more to her health: the henna from which the color is made is respected to calm down the bride and bring peace to the wedding day full of adrenalin.
A first night with little sleep? Go to France if you either do not mind noise or are a short-time sleeper. In this country family and friends meet in front of the house of the fresh couple and have fun playing with pots and pans. To silence this so-called “Charivari” snacks and drinks need to be served.
In Scottish wedding traditions, there’s a custom called the Blackening. In the course of this ceremony the bride and groom are subjected to a ritual in which they must prove their readiness to endure hardships together. Family and friends throw unpleasant things at the couple and tie them to a tree. It’s intended to strengthen their bond and make them a strong team.
In some regions of Germany, the couple needs to cut a tree trunk in half with a two-sided saw to show their strength. In the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia, the couple doesn’t get exhausted, but their guests do. The guests lie down on the ground to form a human carpet that the couple walks on as they start their new life together.
After all these exciting activities, food is especially important. Among Norway’s famous foods is Kransekake, which is a delicious treat made by stacking iced almond cake rings on top of each other. The middle is left empty for gifts, and according to legend, the number of layers corresponds to the number of children the couple will have.
Multiple layers also occur on the wedding dress in Cuba. Here, men who want to dance with the bride need to glue money to the textile.
In Peru a wedding guest can even get into the trap of marrying a cake. On ribbons which stick out of the cake, one can not only find charms but also one “fake” wedding ring. The one getting exactly the piece of cake with the ring is supposed to be the next who will marry.
From a delicious cake up to salty snacks: food is always important when celebrating with friends and family. Why not prepare some international dishes and surprise your guests with new flavors and smells?
The tradition of having a best man is so common in many countries that people assume it is legally binding. But this is not the case. In fact, this tradition originates from times when weddings were more considered business than a romantic way of taking the next step in togetherness. Witnessing those important contracts was of high importance.
Dead fish: A tradition that is for sure not supported by vegans and people interested in animal rights appears in South Korea: Here it is supposed to be the best way to prepare the groom for the wedding night by beating his feet with dead fish alongside bamboo sticks.
Wedding without borders
The various traditions mentioned are not limited to a particular geographic location. The common factor among them is the participation of loved ones and family. My suggestion to you is to commemorate this unique occasion in a manner that suits your preferences. Take inspiration from the diverse range of options available and experiment with ideas that resonate with you while being mindful of the underlying culture and history.
Our CEO Lilith has ever been curious about different customs in various cultures. No matter if it concerns food, partying or mourning. She loves talking to people about how they use to behave in different situation according to their historical and environmental backgrounds.