Wedding is a ceremony that unites two people in marriage. The ceremonies or wedding rites differ as marriage customs around the world vary greatly between countries, religion, social classes, and ethnic groups. So, it’s not surprising why a lot of Couples tie the knot with more than just the usual exchange of vows, wedding gowns, rings, and wedding cakes because of weird wedding superstitions and traditions.
As said awhile ago, strange wedding ceremony traditions and customs are observed by couples around the world. Even in my country, we have an unusual wedding practice that will intrigue other nationals, which encouraged me to research a bit about wedding ceremonies around the world to satisfy my curiosity. Anyway, let me share what I have found out as some countries really do have an interesting wedding customs that will blow your mind.
Here are the different wedding traditions around the world that a lot of people would find strange.
Different Wedding Traditions Around the World
Chinese Wedding Traditions
Chinese are the most superstitious people in the world as they even based their wedding date on the astrologer. In fact, despite the advent of technology, couples still consult fortune-tellers for their wedding date. But of course, the consultation with the fortune teller is done after the acceptance of the marriage proposal by the bride’s family.
When it comes to wedding dresses, the Chinese brides wore cheongsam or qipao made of silk, colored bright red for luck and decorated with gold embroidery. And the gown is long sleeved, high necked and goes all the way to the ground, with only the bride’s hands, toes and heads revealed. By the way, modern Chinese wedding allows the bride to wear three gowns, the first is the traditional dress, and she will change into a white ball gown similar to what westerner wear then to a cocktail dress for the reception.
Chinese wedding traditions also have the groom and groomsmen visiting the brides house on the morning of the big day just to negotiate his way into the home with the bridesmaids by offering money, once they are satisfied the groom can enter to have tea with the parents of the bride. The ritual will have the bride serving the tea as a parting gesture to her parents.
Take note, Chinese celebration is always a lavish affair with 10 -12- course banquets since a wedding is a good excuse for families to flaunt their wealth.
Indian Wedding Traditions
Indian wedding traditions require a henna party with the bride’s female friends and relatives. The bride before the wedding ceremony will have her hands and feet tattooed with mehndi. The artist or relative will decorate the hands and feet of the bride with beautiful and intricate mehndi designs, according to the Indian wedding customs.
In case you are wondering why Hindu weddings last for a week, well, simply because there are a lot of ceremonies from the pre-nuptial marriage to the groom getting the bride back from her parents on the fifth day of celebration. That’s right, the wedding customs starts with the nav graha puja, wherein the groom and brides seek the blessings of the nine planets. After the nav graham puja, there are the mehndi party and the Haldi ceremony, a North Indian tradition. Indian wedding rituals also include honoring the groom, saat pheras, path phera and kanyadaan (offering bride to groom by her father), a ceremony that require the offering of the brides hands to the groom by the father.
Irish Wedding Traditions
A lot of Irish wedding traditions are no longer practiced by modern couples, but there are few traditions that withstood the test of time like the Claddagh ring, horseshoe, wedding bells, locking of the door and blue wedding dress. For those who don’t know what is a claddagh ring, it is simply a ring handed down by a mother to her daughter. The ring symbolizes loyalty, friendship, and love. Bear in mind that claddagh ring is never bought just inherited.
Additionally, in Ireland, the bride traditionally wear a blue wedding dress not white as blue also associated with purity while the man wears tuxedo or the traditional skirts, even if wearing skirts during the British rule was prohibited. Now, they take every opportunity to display the Scottish traditional clothing. Locking of the church doors during wedding ceremonies is another Scottish wedding tradition I find unusual. The custom according to them practiced widely to prevent the man from running away since it is a common problem in the old days.
Last but not the least, in Ireland the bride and groom tie the knot, literally. Yes! You read it right, part of the wedding ceremony is the joining of the couples hands wherein a rope or cord is would around the joined hands, so they can live together forever. The knot symbolizes the bond of marriage.
Mexican Wedding Traditions
In Mexico, the brides’ attire varies since the wedding dress depends on her region. Nevertheless, the usual attire is a white cotton dress to an embroidered and colorful huipil, mantilla veils, and blue slip or sews ribbons. The three ribbons are part of her undergarments and represent money, passion, and food for years to come while the groom would wear the colored guayabera, a shirt suitable to the harsh Mexican sun.
Mexican wedding ceremony requires 13 gold coins, called arras. The coins symbolized Christ and the apostles. Take note, Mexico is a catholic country, so the tradition is more religious based. After the ceremony, there will be a mariachi band performing especially in the reception entrance to welcome guests. When it comes to the wedding cake, Mexican cake is made of dried fruit and nuts soaked in rum.
Italian Wedding Traditions
Italian wedding traditions demand that the festivity occur in the morning, preferably on a Sunday. The couples cannot leave on Friday or Tuesday to their honeymoon to avoid bad lucks while Saturdays are just for widows wanting to get married again with husband number two, three, or four. Italian brides must also wear a veil to protect her from bad spirits and the groom should carry a small piece of iron in his pocket to ward off unruly spirits.
According to the old age customs, the bride and groom must walk on foot to the church, and the groom must not turn around even once as soon as he stepped outside his home on his wedding day. The tradition is intended to prevent the man from backing out, probably why the grooms also accompanied by his friends to the church in Italy.
After the ceremony, the couple must also shatter a vase as the broken pieces represent the number of years they will stay happily married. At the reception, the couple will dance to the tune of tarantella, a lively dance that could save them from tarantula bites and involve the linking of arms, whirling, circling, and twirling on the floor. Aside from the dancing, the guests would also later go to the bride so they can place money on her la borsa, a bag made of silk.
Greek Wedding Traditions
If you invited to a Greek wedding, then you are in for a treat as the Greeks certainly knows how to party. You see, the Greek wedding custom and traditions are strange but fun as the wedding celebrations itself can last through the night. The wedding includes drinking, feasting and dancing to the famous Greek dance the “Isaiah dance and “kaslamantiano.” At the reception, the couple will also smash plates and will throw money to the musicians that accompanied the groom from his home to the church for good luck, as well as served a candied almond called koufeta to guests.
Greek tradition also require a dowry to the groom and bride, wherein the bride’s mother give furniture and other bits and pieces to the newlywed that the local girls will set up at the couples new home. Greeks call this tradition “nyphostoli” a tradition that is seldom practice but acknowledged.
American Wedding Traditions
Americans adopted most of their wedding traditions from the Europeans and other cultures, the reason why wedding celebration in the United States the most flexible. The most notable wedding feature in America is the couple kissing at their wedding ceremony. And during reception the part wherein the groom would remove the brides garter then toss it to the single men in the audience is also wedding tradition that is still widely practice since according to the legend whoever gets the garter will be the next to get married.
In America, couples have two cakes the bride and grooms cake, usually served during rehearsal dinner or at the reception along with the bride’s cake.
Jewish Wedding Traditions
Jewish wedding traditions are a mixture of sadness and happiness. Conservative and Orthodox Jewish weddings do not allow simultaneous celebration with religious holidays and especially on the Sabbath day.
Part of the ceremony include the breaking of the glass by the groom, a tradition with several meanings as for some people the ritual is a represent the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem during the A.D 70 while others consider the custom a reminder that joy should also be tempered. Nevertheless, either way the breaking of the glass is done on a good spirit, which is why after the glass shatters everyone calls out “Mazel Tov” meaning good luck.
Take note, when Jewish sent out invitations they invite guests using the words “dance” rather than the usual “requesting the honor of your presence” commonly seen in many invitations.
British Wedding Traditions
British wedding is a mixture of something old, something new, something borrowed and blue. So, expect to see old friends, new friends, and valuable things that family members lent to the bride, a custom that bring good luck as long as she will return the lent item. Additionally, Britons bridesmaids were dressed almost the same as the bride to confuse the evil spirit as seen in the most recent royal weddings, wherein Kate Middleton young bridesmaids also dressed in the same color as her wedding gown.
Placing a penny or sixpences in the bride shoes is another British wedding customs that is still alive and observe by some brides.
Japanese Wedding Traditions
In the land of the rising sun, the bride wears a traditional dress called kimono. Although, a lot of today’s brides prefers a modern wedding, there are still women that prefer a traditional Shinto or Buddhist ceremony.
In Japan, aside from wearing an embroidered kimono the bride are also painted white from head to toe. The woman will also wear a headgear either the wataboshi (white hood) or the tsunokakushi, which serves as a covering for the bride’s horn.
By the way, the Japanese law do not require wedding celebration, a couple can get married without hosting a party as long as they have submitted the required paperwork to the city registrar office.
Anyway, Japanese wedding ends in the memorial candle, a wedding tradition that show respect to the parents.
African Wedding Traditions
Africa is a vast continent, with rich colorful cultures and diverse religion. The significant number of tribes makes it impossible to pinpoint the exact African wedding traditions as each unit or tribe has its own wedding ceremony traditions and customs that date hundreds or thousands of years.
In fact, depending on which part of the continent you are in, the wedding ceremonies can be longer and even extremely elaborate. Moreover, there are part in Africa wherein the girls an early age already trained to be a wife and mother.
In Sudan, the man must pay the family of the bride with cattle or sheep, about 30 to 40 animals. In Somalia, the man can have four wives as long as he can support them all without any problem. Plus! a girl even if not yet born can already be engaged to a man since Africans encouraged early marriage as young as 13 years of age, or just as soon as the girl-hit puberty.
Back to the topic, Kenya wedding traditions required the groom to wear women’s clothes for a month to understand their wife. In other part of Africa, girls as young as five years old get sent to the fat farm since it is mandatory in their region to be very fat to find their future husband. These are just some of the African wedding traditions practiced throughout the continent.
Asian Wedding Traditions
Strange Wedding Traditions Around the World
Asian wedding traditions differ according to religion and cultures of each country but definitely the Asian traditions are colorful and mysterious. See below for unique wedding traditions.
Malaysia Wedding Traditions
Malaysia traditions encouraged the groom to send his bride presents that promote fertility, the number one priority of the couple. Furthermore, Malaysians during the wedding celebration give their guests’ decorated eggs, a symbol of fertility. And just like in the Hindu traditions the bride with painted hands (mehndi design) and the groom feed one another with yellow rice.
in Malaysia, the groom and bride are not allowed to use the bathroom 72 hours before their wedding day. If they can survive the custom, they can survive the marriage ups and down.
Philippine Wedding Traditions
The Philippine is pre-dominantly a Roman Catholic country, so the wedding traditions are similar to Mexico and other countries. There are arras, wedding cord, lighting of candle and banquet throwing. When it comes to wedding attire, Filipinos wear the traditional barong Tagalog and white gown for the bride.