There`s a huge variety of weddings traditions all over the world, it changes according to several factors: culture, religious believes, social classes and the geographical place. These factors could modify the featured elements and environment where the wedding is developed.
Considering that weddings are, putting aside the modified featured elements, essentially a meaningful ritual, where two people decide to bond their lives together in front of friends and family endorsed by an authority.
In every culture there are a few symbolic items employed in weddings, like music, offerings, gifts presentation, special wedding attire, dances, jewelry exchange, and religious costumes, just to name a few.
Up next we will talk about a few wedding customs according to culture:
- Jewish weddings: The bride and groom sign the ketubah previous to the wedding ceremony, which is the marital contract; this explains their duties and specifications in case of divorce. The ceremony performs under a chuppah held by family members, this is a four-poster supported canopy symbolizing their home together, parents and the marring couple stand under the chuppah during the ceremony. And for blessing the bride, the groom, and their home, seven blessings are spiel, they both drink wine from a glass that later the groom gets shattered with the right foot, in commemoration of the destruction of the second temple, this act concludes the wedding ceremony. Then the seclusion time, where the bride and groom spend their first moments in each other’s company away from the guest, this is the time for strengthening their bond as a couple, later comes to the wedding meal called seudat mitzvah, this includes dancing and the blessing after eating the meal, called Birkat Hamazon. These might vary depending on if the wedding is orthodox.
- Muslim weddings: There`s a variety of wedding costumes depending on the country, though in essence remain similar because Muslims practices are governed by Quran`s but around the world, there`s a difference between religious ceremony and law requirements. For instance, the couple must be leveled in costumes, because the Quran`s says that man and woman are one for another. In Muslim weddings, the ceremony is called Nikah the celebration of a marriage contract, this act is usually performed by an Imam, which is, in fact, a leader of the prayers in the Mosque and the community,Nikah can be done anywhere, in the bride`s home or in the Mosque, the ceremony is usually very simple, gather to reading the Quran in front of a few witnesses, bride`s attendance isn`t obligated as long as she send two witnesses to sign the agreement, the couple has to announce publically the marriage and it is usually done through a Walimah, which is a feast offered for the public announcement, depending of the place bride and groom should be placed on thrones or above guests and they can be honored with gifts or money.
- Scottish weddings: These ceremonies can hold so many traditional as modern elements, the Kilt (being the traditional attire for men) which was ancestrally used for honoring their family clan wearing specific colors. For the bride they usually have a sixpence in the shoe for good fortune and prosperity, in the couple is blessed by drinking whiskey from a wooden two-handled carved cup called Quaich, and the traditional bagpipe sound. This is generally speaking because from place to place around the UK it could add some costumes.
- Chinese culture weddings: Through years Chinese weddings have had a common element, the tea ceremony. Though transculturation has invaded some of the traditional costumes, young people in the big cities have employed a combination of Western and Chinese weddings. In traditional ceremonies, the bride attire must always be red called Qipao with an also red veil covering her face, but nowadays the trend is wearing a white bridal gown. The red color symbolizes good luck and fortune for the newly weeds this is why is so predominant in this celebration when the groom arrives there a “good luck woman” with a red umbrella that it’s supposed to protect the bride from evil spirits. On the other hand, in the tea ceremony the only guest are members of both families, is a substitute for the wedding vows exchange, where the couple presents the tea, kneeled to the parents and to each other, the guests are supposed to give presents to the bride on a red envelope, that might be jewelry or money. There is also the wedding banquet with usually six courses and a three-day celebration where the couple gets visited by family members but the brides considered a member in by her own family but as a welcomed guest.
- Indian weddings: Traditional Indian weddings normally are a 3 days long celebration, spoken in the Sanskrit language which is the Indian scriptures tongue. These are considered the most beautiful, romantic and bright colored ceremonies. They have many rituals for each of the stages (pre-marriage, during and post-marriage), such as the henna art application on the bride`s hands, legs, and feet prior wedding, called Mehendi. There’s also the Sangeet which is a before the wedding where both families get together for performing songs and dancing acts celebrating the marriage. The attires are always very brightly colored. The ceremony is done under a temporal structure meant only for wedding, embellished with flowers among green foliage, fabrics, and even crystals called a Mandap. Located in the center of this wedding altar there will be a fire set offer and witness, the bride offers to the fire a hand full of rice offered to her by her brother, this is called homam. The exchange of flower garlands, which later are tied together as they circle a fire, kanyadaan is the act of the father giving away the bride, the Ganesha prayers, the wrists tied together. The custom of wedding return gifts is meant for showing the appreciation for sharing that special moment, one of the most common are the lucky elephants.