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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Customs and Traditions Around the World - well, some of it. :)

The planet seems to get smaller everyday and so it’s not really ‘unusual’ for couples to incorporate the ‘usual’ practices of other countries and cultures into their own special day!


Add the garter toss to your tossing the bouquet ritual. This is when the single men are lined up to catch the bride’s garter and see who will be the next to marry. (This seems to have caught on in other countries...I know I did it in Australia 25 years ago!)


A local Japanese-American custom in Hawaii is for the bride to fold 1001 origami cranes prior to her wedding for good luck, good fortune, longevity, happiness fidelity and peace. The crane is said to live for 1,000 years. How beautiful is that?


Waiters usually pass out take-out boxes to the guests because providing too much food represents abundance.
Tea is served at the reception as a sign of respect. The couple usually serves it to each relative who give jewelry and "lucky money" in return. (Nice way to start married life, with a nest egg.)


Everything is white, from dresses to decorations so this is the perfect theme for understated elegance.
It is also traditional to sell kisses with the bride, but this could be dangerous to the groom's peace of mind... (I agree with that. Too many what-ifs)


During the ceremony, when the couple kneel, the groom may kneel on the bride's hem to show that he'll keep her in line. The bride may step on his foot when she rises, to reassert herself. (I like this - cool tradition!)


Give your attendants a traditional charm in the form of a small eye that protects the wedding celebrants from bad luck. (We won't talk about spitting on the dress to keep the devil away!)
End the ceremony with honey and walnuts offered to you both on a silver spoon. Walnuts break into four parts representing the bride, groom and the two sets of family.


Ask your groom to give thirteen coins to you before the ceremony as, in Spain, this symbolizes his ability to support and care for you. Carry them in a little purse or ask your bridesmaids to look after them.
In Mexican ceremonies, a rosary tied into a ‘lasso’ shape is wound around your shoulders and hands to symbolically tie you together.


Wear a claddagh wedding ring, which has two hands holding a heart with a crown. When the ring is turned so the hands face in, the bride is married.


In a few regions the couple shattered a vase or glass into many pieces. The number of pieces represented the expected number of years they'll be happily married to one another
Serve symbolic foods for good luck including twists of fried dough, powdered with sugar, called bow ties or ‘wanda’.


At "Yui-no" gifts are exchanged between the bridegroom-to-be and bride-to-be. The main present for the bride-to-be is an ‘Obi’, representing female virtue whilst a ‘hakama’ skirt for the bridegroom-to-be expresses fidelity.
A great tradition to include for your reception is the guests' performances. Ask them to perform any dramas, skits or sing to you. But remember that forewarned is forearmed!


Add the ‘unveiling’ ritual to your reception: Everyone forms a circle around the bride. Her mother takes the bride's veil off (symbolizing the bride's becoming a woman) and places it on the head of the maid of honour who then dances with the best man for a few minutes before passing the veil to the next bridesmaid.


Place a silver coin from your father in your left shoe and a gold coin from your mother in your right shoe and Swedish tradition says you will never go without.


Wash your feet the night before the wedding! On the eve of a traditional Scottish Penny wedding, a ceremonial "feet washing" was held where everyone crowded around to help wash her feet. (I hope she does it at other times too...) A married woman's ring was placed into the tub before the ceremony and the first person to find it was believed to be the one who would get married next. Cute!


Pinning money on the bride. This is an ancient custom, and the point is that the money may never be touched by the groom; it’s the bride’s in case she ever needs to leave him. In a culture where the man is lord of the family and the woman has few choices and little money if she leaves, this is a small piece of independence. Nice tradition - I've seen it done.

Having done traditions from around the world, I know this day is tragic in the memories of so many...my husband's school mate was killed this day, in the second tower. To all the innocent who have died through acts of aggression and human insanity anywhere in the world, and their families, my heart goes out to you.

Melissa J


Blogger Myrna said...

I loved the traditions. I'm so glad I didn't have to fold 1001 paper cranes, though. I love the custom, but being all thumbs, I would probably still be at it, and I've been married 26 years!

September 11, 2008 at 5:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's lovely.
At my wedding, family and friends pinned money on my dress (as they did for all the brides in our family), but not in case I decided to leave my husband as the Egyptian tradition states. Paper money was pinned to my dress by those who asked to dance with me at the reception. It was basically just a monetary gift to see the happy couple into our new life. Dana

September 11, 2008 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

LOL, Myrna!!!

Dana, I do think it a lovely tradition, in both senses. To willingly hand a woman power in a male-dominated society is a good thing; to give a gift of love is a wonderful thing. :-)))


September 11, 2008 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I'm with Myrna, that's alot of paper cranes! What is done with the cranes after folding?
I like the Irish tradition. Especially as I wear a claddaugh ring. My first one was given to me be my now husband when we were dating. (As a promise ring.) After we were married I switched it to my right hand/ring finger and wear it symbolizing we're married. *G*

September 11, 2008 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

Love all the traditions and need to pass them on to my daughter for future reference. It is nice to know, in this world where people often seem so at odds, that weddings are important and special everywhere.

Peace, Julie

September 11, 2008 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

As Josh Groban sings, everyone needs to be loved...that's universal. :-)) Weddings are special in every culture, I guess because it's life being lived, showing what's truly important: the next generation carrying on.


September 11, 2008 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger Eleni Konstantine said...

Hi Melissa, it's lovely to see the different traditions around the world and the importance of family and friends at the ceremony. I laughed about the Greeks spitting on the dress.... well it is a spit but it's meant to be without any spittle. LOL! It's the same as the eye... it's meant to ward off the cyphoning of energy (not necessarily evil coz even a positive comment can cyphon energy as in the case of telling a bride she looks beautiful) - hence the 'spit'.
E :)

September 12, 2008 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Thanks, Eleni, I didn't know all that, even though my best friend's Greek! She laughs about it and didn't fully explain, or if she did I didn't get it. Good to know!


September 13, 2008 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger Eleni Konstantine said...

Hey well maybe your best friend's family DOES spit!! LOL!! - some people do get quite animated... it's an aspect that makes me laugh too.
E :)

September 15, 2008 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Gail Fuller said...

Re: spitting (what a great topic LOL!)

I learned from a Moroccan couple that it's bad luck to say anything good about a new baby. So, a friend of ours had a baby and because people didn't know this, one of her aunts kept running around spitting (to ward off the evil eye) every time someone said something nice about the girl. :)

Naturally, my hubby went up to our friend, looked at the baby, shook his head, sighed and said, 'Eh, I've seen prettier.' That earned him a hug. :)

September 16, 2008 at 10:54 AM  

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