Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Surprising Global Wedding Traditions

Sake Glasses Designed for Weddings
Odds are your wedding day will be filled with traditional elements, from the bouquet and garter toss to “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Weddings are all about tradition--in fact, having a wedding ceremony at all instead of just going to the Justice of the Peace is down to tradition. Here are some lesser-known traditions from cultures around the world. These practices may not be as familiar as a ring and a kiss, but they’re all part of the rich global heritage of wedding tradition. Which one will you add to your big day?

Italy: A different kind of confetti

In Italy, the term “confetti” referred to a little bag of candied nuts and other sweets that the couple would provide to each of the guests. Like paper confetti, the candies used to be thrown at the bride and groom--ouch!--but today, the confections are more likely to be eaten than used as a projectile.

Japan: A Sake-Sharing Ceremony

In Japan, family is important. The bride and groom’s parents become family just as the bride and groom join together. To symbolize that, the bride and groom share sips of sake from the same cup, after which the in-laws on both sides do the same. Nothing brings a family together like a little good booze, after all.

Korea: Goose the Mother of the Bride

If you hear that someone got goosed at an American ceremony, that most likely means the groom pinched the bride’s behind as they walked down the aisle. In Korea, though a goose is the traditional gift a groom gives to his new mother-in-law. The custom was that it was a live goose, but these days an ornamental wooden one (that doesn’t require feeding and doesn’t poop all over the front lawn) is used as a token of the old custom.

Mexico: Two Bouquets

And you thought American brides had their hands full! In Mexico, Catholic brides carry two bouquets. One is for the bride, and the other is a tribute to the Virgin Mary. Only the bride’s bouquet gets tossed for the bridesmaids to fight over, though.

France: Charivari

Traditional weddings in France have more in common with New Year’s celebrations thanks to the custom of Charivari. The friends and family of the newlyweds gather outside the couple’s new home on their wedding night to make noise. They bang on pots and pans, stomp, shout, clap and sing. Traditionally they don’t stop until the wedding couple comes out and gives them some refreshments as a bribe.

Korea: Balaka

In Korea, the groom’s friends want to make absolutely sure he doesn’t waste time standing around on his wedding night. They expect him to spend the entire time in bed. To make sure that he does, they take off his shoes and socks and smack the soles of his feet with dead fish until they’re tender (and probably not-so-pleasant smelling). One would think that if the groom has to be incapacitated to want to spend time in bed with his new bride, the marriage is in trouble already, but the custom remains.

While we don’t expect anyone to line up to get hit with a fish any time soon, some of these traditions could definitely add some charm to your wedding day. And if your friends come Charivari at your house after your wedding, at least you can start planning on what you’ll do when it’s their turn.

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