International wedding traditions

20 June 2017

We all know the saying "Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue". Brides are encouraged to wear something old (to show continuity), something new (to have optimism for the future), something borrowed (to show borrowed happiness) and something blue (to stand for purity and love). It is said to bring newlyweds good luck on their wedding day and their future together.

But what about the rest of the world.

In Norway, you will commonly see a cake called, “kransekake” served at weddings. The cake is several layers high in a cone shape and made with layers of iced almond cake rings, totally enclosing a bottle of wine. When the cake is cut, the bride and groom will lift the top layer off the cake and the number of rings that stick to the top layer as they lift is said to be the number of children they will have.

The Chinese have a tradition that the bride’s friends have to make sure her chosen husband is the one for her. To do this, they subject the groom to a series of tests and challenges. It is not uncommon though for a groom to give presents and money to be given easy tasks.

In Venezuela, the bride and groom try to sneak out of the reception without being noticed. If they manage to do so it is said to be good luck for the marriage. It is also good luck for the first guest to notice they have gone.

A Peruvian alternative to the bouquet toss is that the wedding cake will have ribbons hanging off the cake with charms on the inside. One ribbon has a false ring, and the girl who is served the fake wedding ring is the next to get married.

New brides might not want to leave the room in Sweden, as it is a tradition for all the female guests to kiss the groom if she does. On the reverse, in South Korea the groom has his feet whipped by family and friends.

In the Congo, the newly wed couple must show that they are serious about their marriage – they mustn’t smile for the entire day.

Many brides here go on diets to lose as much weight as possible before the wedding. In contrast in Mauritius, girls put on the pounds before the wedding as a husband with a well-fed wife is thought to be wealthy.

In Mongolia the traditions start before the wedding day. To even set a date, the couple must kill a baby chicken, holding the knife together, to find a healthy liver. And they have to keep going until they get one!

German brides and grooms clean up piles of porcelain dishes that their guests have thrown on the floor to ward off evil spirits – working together they show they can face any of life’s future challenges.

A traditional Shinto wedding in Japan has the bride dressed in an all white kimono complete with hood. The white denotes her maidenhood, and the hood is to hide the horns of jealousy she feels towards her mother-in-law.

In Jamaican villages, the people line the street to look at the bride on her way to the ceremony. It is the custom for them to call out negative comments if her appearance isn’t good enough. Too many comments and she will have to go home to try again.

In Kenya, it is traditional for the father of the bride to spit on his daughter as she leaves the ceremony with her new husband. This is to not tempt fate by being too supportive of the newlywed couple.

Newlywed couples solve the arguments about who is the head of the family. They share a wedding sweetbread called Karavaya, without using their hands. Whoever takes the biggest bite is considered the head of the family.

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