Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Wedding Traditions and Touches

Last time we talked about some customs incorporated by American couples in their wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions. Here are some more that make your wedding day even more outstanding.

Irish Traditions

The groom is lifted up in a chair (called a jaunting chair) at the wedding reception to signify he is a married man. Often, the wedding couple is given a horseshoe for luck to display in their new home. A Claddagh ring - a ring decorated with two hands holding a heart and a crown above them - is the traditional Irish wedding ring.

Greek Traditions

During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom wear crowns of flowers or "stephana” as King and Queen of the day and their household. Their sponsor -- koumbaros (man) or koumbara (woman) -- places these on their heads. Sometimes these sponsors are the Maid of Honor and Best Man, or they are given a special role in the wedding ceremony. Inviting a man or woman or even a couple to be koumbari is a very serious undertaking. This sponsor will be a permanent member of your extended family.

Polish Traditions

Guests who dance with the bride at the wedding reception are expected to place gifts of money (preferably in money holders) in the pocket of an apron she wears for the occasion.

When the bride is dressed and ready to put on her veil, she stands by a mirror and watches her mother put it on for her. This symbolizes the last task a mother does for her little girl before she becomes a woman with her own life.

Scottish Traditions

The groom gives the bride an engraved silver teaspoon on their wedding day as a promise they will never go hungry. At the reception a traditional sword dance is often performed.

Hispanic Traditions

A large rosary or white rope called a "laso" is wound around the couple’s shoulders in a figure-8 during the ceremony to symbolize their union. Sometimes an heirloom mantilla is used in place of the “laso.” Three bouquets are used - the bride carries one, one is left at the altar to home the Virgin Mary, and their third is tossed at the ceremony.

Jewish Tradition

At the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, a cloth-wrapped wine glass is smashed as a reminder of the hardship endured by the Jewish people by the destruction of the Holy Temple in ancient Israel, and as a reminder of the fragility of love and marriage. As the glass breaks, everyone cries "mazel tov" (congratulations) and then it's off to the wedding reception.

Next time, let's talk about what customs you can create for your own traditions!

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