Begin Free Online Ordination

International WeddingPlanning a wedding, even when you what you are after is a simple, intimate affair, may feel like a daunting task. At times it may seem like tradition is a grand weight hanging over your heads, supported by a piece of thin, fraying twine. Maybe it is time to recast the concept of tradition and take a look at some old world customs that put a little whimsy and magic back into the preparations.

Getting Hitched Italian Style

There is no lack of superstition in the old Italian traditions, and that may be what makes them so charming. Even the ones that are seemingly completely arbitrary in today's modern world carry an air of supernatural significance. For instance, it was cautioned in Italy that a couple-to-be never be married on a Friday or a Tuesday, or risk bad luck. Sunday was best, except for widows, who were directed to make their vows to their successive fiancés on Saturday. Other traditions included walking to the site of the ceremony. The groom's friends were charged with going back to fetch anything that the groom may have forgotten, so that he would have no cause to turn back himself. As in other cultures, crockery was smashed to bits after the ceremony. The number of broken pieces were said to indicate the number of years the couple would spend in wedded bliss. An Italian custom that remains today is the sharing of sugared almonds, symbolic of the sweetness of a life shared.

Exchanging Promises in China

A couple's wedding date may well have depended on what the local astrologer had to say. An auspicious time hinged on an alignment between the couple's birthdays. Once the day was chosen, a beautiful gown of red silk embroidered with gold thread was prepared for the bride. It would cover all but her head, hands and toes. On the day of the wedding, the groom engaged in playful negotiations with the bride's attendants at her home in order to enter the dwelling. Once they settled on a dollar amount, the groom sat down to tea with the bride's parents. The celebration involved an elaborate feast of many courses. A whole fish was frequently served, as the word for fish in some Chinese dialects closely resembles yu, the word for abundance. Wedding guests were often regaled with a Lion Dance, performed to the accompaniment of drums, gongs and cymbals, and designed to ward off evil spirits.

Moroccan Marriage Celebration

Moroccan tradition called for a seven day celebration held in the fall, after the harvest, when there was plenty of food for the guests. The first three days were set aside to prepare the bride. She and her attendants enjoyed massages and milk baths intended to purify. They may also have designed and applied elaborate henna tattoos on their feet and on their hands. On the fourth day, the couple wed. All participants wore bright colors. Yellow was thought to ward off evil, while green was said to bring good luck. Fish and chicken were served to symbolize fertility. Guests danced to a wedding march known as the zaffa, and the music of drums, tambourines and the zither played for days. On the seventh day, the married couple was carried to their honeymoon chambers, feted and ready to begin their life together.

Building New Traditions

In this modern era, it may sometimes seem that we are tethered to nothing. While individuals may eschew the religious affiliations that gave shape to ceremonial proceedings for their ancestors, there may yet be a need for a connection to one's cultural past. It seems that many rituals associated with weddings had little to do with deep religious convictions, and more to do with the community in which they were born. Perhaps that is how traditions begin.

Category: Get Ordained Perform a Wedding

Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.
You may alternatively login with your credentials, below.