Though our world can be different in so many ways, you would be hard pressed to find a culture that did not celebrate marriage. No matter what culture, religion, or social class we come from we all have wedding traditions that we honor.
In some parts of Brazil they have a tradition where the groom has to tame a donkey in order to prove his worth prior to the wedding. It is also customary for the bride to place her shoes in the middle of the dance floor so that guests can dance around and drop money on them to show their support for the couple’s financial future. Engraving each other's names in their wedding rings is also customary.
In Japan the bride will wear a white kimono with long sleeves and will have her hair done in a wedding topknot. Instead of a veil, the bride will wear a white hood. The bride and groom will also change their outfits numerous times during the wedding.
A recent trend among Japanese weddings is the over-the-top return gift, okaeshi. Usually the guests will receive a small gift after signing the guestbook and weeks later receive something larger. Some couples even send guests a catalog of gifts to choose from.
In Africa the bride plays a very special role and is treated with respect because she is a link between the unborn and the ancestors. Broom jumping is a very popular African marriage ritual, it is thought to originate from long ago when a couple would place sticks on the ground, representing their new home together.
In Italy the groom carries a piece of iron to ward off envious people. During the reception the men are supposed to kiss the bride for good luck, she also carries a satin pouch where guests can give envelopes of money for the chance to dance with her. One of oldest traditions is the giving of candy-coated Jordan Almonds, they are meant to represent the bittersweet nature of marriage. At the end of the day, the couple will break a vase or glass and the number of pieces are to represent the number of years they will be happily married.
No matter what the culture or tradition, weddings are a celebration of love and unity that are recognized and honored.
We would love to know what wedding traditions your family honors. Let us know in the comments section.