A wedding is a very special occasion. It is a solemn promise between two people to spend the rest of their life together faithfully and pledge that only death can separate them from one another. This is the true meaning of a wedding in any culture anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, different countries do have their own unique practices when it comes to getting married or “tying the knot,” as they say, and it is quite fascinating to see what special wedding traditions people from around the world practice for this joyous event.
Some of the most interesting wedding practices can be found in mysterious Asia. There is a wide variety of traditions practiced by each country in Asia, every one of them unique from the other. In Japan, it is believed that purple symbolizes true love, which is why the bride can opt to wear the traditional silk kimono designed with purple flowers. The wedding ceremony may either be Shinto, wherein the “kami” or natural spirits are invoked to bless both bride and groom; or the Buddhist ceremony where a pair of beaded strings is woven together as a symbol of the unification of two families.
In China, the bride’s family sends a roasted pig to the groom’s family as an engagement present. Red is the customary color of the wedding gown, a symbol of luck and prosperity for the bride and groom. Firecrackers play a big part in a Chinese wedding to ward off the evil spirits. For countries that practice the Hindu culture such as India, the couple is not allowed to see one another for a number of days prior to the wedding day, as it is supposedly bad luck to do so. Water and milk are used by the parents of the bride to wash the feet of the couple during the ceremony to purify them as they begin their life as husband and wife.
A lot of the wedding practices in Eastern Europe are focused on long life, prosperity and fertility. In Czechoslovakia, it is common for the friends of the bride to decorate a tree that they plant on her yard, believing that her life would last as long as the life of the tree. An infant is laid on the matrimonial bed to symbolize fertility, and plates are broken to ensure the success of the union. In Poland, the couple is presented with rye bread that has a sprinkling of salt, along with wine by their parents. It is believed that this helps in ensuring the couple do not want for food and that in spite of difficulties, they are blessed with good health and remain happy.
In the US, weddings of today are quite elaborate, particularly among the wealthier population. Nevertheless, it is also very common to hold wedding ceremonies in gardens at home. It is a frequent practice for the couple to make their personal wedding vow to each other so they are able to express their own feelings for their partners. Couples exchange their circular wedding rings as a symbol of their eternal love. The kiss at the end of the ceremony is a seal that they are committed to their union, and would want to share the moment with their family and friends as witnesses to this pledge to one another.
No matter what special traditions are practiced with weddings, one thing remains constant. It is an occasion that calls for celebration as two hearts become one, bound by a powerful love, and a promise to be faithful and loyal to each other, until “death do us part.”