Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Fun Wedding Customs

The word wedding comes from the ancient Greek meaning pledge or vow. This is perhaps the most solemn oath you can take - pledging your life and love to someone for life.

As a result, you invite all to witness the event and you photograph it and put it in an album to remember it always!

It's serious stuff, and all over the world, there have been traditions and customs established to make your union not only sacred but also ongoing!

An African wedding, more than anything, not only brings together two people as a single family, but combines two families or even the mixture of two tribes into one family unit. The concept of family is one of the unifying ideas of the African continent. Even though there are thousands of different types of ceremonies including Muslim, Christian, Jewish and even tribal, the bottom line in African weddings is that when two people marry, so do their families!

In Japanese weddings, purple is the color of love and a young bride may choose to wear an elaborately embroidered silk kimono covered in purple iris flowers. Weddings are traditionally either Shinto, during which the natural spirits, the Kami, are called upon to bless the couple, or it might be a Buddhist ceremony during which two strings of beads are interwoven, symbolizing the joining of two families into one.

A traditional groom, getting married in Malaysia, might send children bearing wedding presents to his future bride. These wedding gifts include elaborately displayed trays of food with origami flowers and cranes, made with paper currency.

Marriage in Iceland is very serious business. Couples are urged not to rush into matrimony. Long engagements are the norm, sometimes lasting three or four years. When the wedding finally did happen in the old days, it was customary for the groom to present his bride with a gift on the bridal bed. Today it is common for the bride to present the groom with a wedding bed gift.

Traditionally the bride would be waiting for her new husband wearing only her bridal headdress, which her new husband would remove. Once the couple was in bed together the priest would bless them one last time and the couple would drink from the bridal cups to seal their marriage.

These days, many Icelandic brides are opting for a more US or UK style of wedding and not the 14-day extravaganza that is part of their heritage!

Weddings differ from place to place, but they all start with a promise of a new life together.

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