Weddings are one of the most ancient rituals conducted across the vast expanse of human history. Thanks to geographic isolation and the spread of humanity, there are as many different ways to celebrating marriages as there are different cultures on the planet. If you are considering celebrating your wedding with a little cultural inspiration, why not read up on some of the most beautiful wedding traditions from around the world.
1. African Wedding Ceremonies
African weddings are one of the most variable as each tribe, nation, and country has their own traditions. However, some traditions are shared, such as “jumping the broom.” This hearkens back to the days of slavery, when getting married was prohibited. This is where couples will literally jump over a broom, often decorated with tassels and ribbons, to commemorate the union. In north African countries, which have a heavy Islamic/Muslim influence, many brides will decorate their feet and hands with intricate henna designs. Also, in many African tribes cowrie shells are valued, as they used to be the prime method of currency exchange. To commemorate this, brides and grooms may be decorated with cowrie shells. This shell is also a fertility image, which is meant to bestow fertility upon the newly married couple.
2. Indian Wedding
Weddings are huge in India – the parties often last for days before and after the actual wedding takes place. At pre-wedding ceremonies, there is a ceremony where members of each family exchange gifts with each other. The Mehendi Ceremony is traditionally held at the bride’s home, and this is where the intricate henna designs are placed on the bride’s hands and feet. The Var Mala Ceremony takes place on the wedding day, and this is when the bride and grooms place flower garlands around each other’s necks. These symbolize the beauty, freshness, and color that they bring into each other’s lives.
3. Japanese Wedding
Traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies are held in the Shinto tradition. The bride’s face and exposed body is painted with a white chalk to symbolize purity. A large white hood is also worn over and around her head. This is worn to symbolically hide feelings of jealousy against her mother-in-law. The couple officially becomes husband and wife after they take their first sip of sake together.
4. Cuban Wedding
Due to Cuba being under a Communist regime, weddings are not allowed to be religious events. There are still many ways that people celebrate, however, and much of it centers around the bride’s wedding dress. The rule for this is, the more extravagant the wedding dress, the better. Silk and satin layers of ruffles are common. At the wedding after-party, in order to help offset the costs of the wedding, there is a money dance where men who get to dance with the bride pin money to her dress.
One of the most universal traditions in the world, yet because of this fact, the diversity of weddings is wide and varied. Each culture with their own traditions make their special day extra special by paying tribute to traditional wedding ceremonies such as these.
Francine Lewis is a wedding planner and occasionally blogs for honeymoondestinations.org a site she frequently recommends to newly wed couples who are trying to plan their honeymoon. They have loads of useful guides to help plan a puerto rico honeymoon as well as articles detailing areas of interest at various destinations such as this one: A Peurto Rican Paradise: El Yunque Rain Forest