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Broken CrockeryThere may be no more traditional event in life than a wedding. However, this tradition varies widely around the world. Here are some unusual wedding customs you may have never heard of.

Mauritanian Fat Farms

In Mauritania, girls between the ages of five and 15 are sent to fat farms, not to lose weight as in the US, but to gain as much weight as possible. The larger a bride is, the more it signifies her husband’s financial ability to keep her satisfied.

Scottish Blackening of the Bride

In Scotland, the bride is surprised by her friends days before her wedding and is “blackened.” The friends throw curdled milk, spoiled food, rotten fish, tar, and feathers on the bride, then tie her to a tree. Once she’s untied, they all go out for a night of drinking. If the bride can handle being treated like that, she’s ready for whatever may come her way during her marriage.

German Plate Smashing

The night before traditional German weddings, guests bring porcelain or pottery to the bride’s home and smash it to ward off evil spirits. The happy couple cleans up the mess together, signifying that although married life may not be easy, by working together, they can overcome any problems that may arise.

Kenyan Maasai Spitting

Among the Maasai people of Kenya, spitting is seen as a sign of good fortune. For example, before shaking hands with their elders, Maasai men spit on their hands as a sign of respect, and newborn babies are spit on to ward off bad luck. Weddings are no different; it’s customary for the father of the bride to spit on her head and breasts before she’s wed.

French Chamber Pots

In the past, guests attending weddings in France would gather leftover food and drink from the wedding reception and put it all together in a chamber pot for the happy couple to drink from to give them energy for their wedding night. Fortunately, when the tradition is observed, the chamber pot is filled with a mixture of champagne and chocolate.

Bornean Bathroom Ban

Among the Tidong people of Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s customary for the newlyweds to not leave their house or use the bathroom for three days after their wedding. They’re kept under guard and permitted only a small amount of food and drink during this time. Not following this ritual brings bad luck, including infidelity, divorce, or the death of the couple’s children.

Indian Tree Marriage

In some regions of India, women born Mangliks under a certain Hindu astrological sign are cursed to have husbands who die at a young age. To break this curse, they marry trees, which are then cut down, signifying the early death. Afterward, they are free to marry the men they love.

Chinese Bride Shooting

In some areas of China, shooting the bride is customary. The groom will shoot three arrows, sans arrowheads, at the bride. Then he gathers the arrows and breaks them in half, signifying that their love for each other is eternal.

English Ribbon Pulling

In England, the wedding cake is layered with ribbons. All the single women at the wedding gather around the cake and pull one out. The one who pulls out the ribbon with a ring charm on it is believed to be the next one to be wed.

While these wedding traditions may seem unusual to those in the US, they are customary in different cultures in all corners of the globe. Some of our traditions may seem just as unusual to them. Whatever the practice, weddings all have the same goal: the union of two people in love.

Category: Wedding Planning


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