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Interesting Wedding Traditions from Around the World
The North American “white wedding” has become a staple in the media and in films, and while many of these weddings are beginning to diverge from the strictly traditionally ceremony, there are a few little traditions (and superstitions) that remain.
These traditions may include: the white wedding dress that represents purity; the bouquet and boutonniere that symbolize attachment, affection, and the ancient warding off of evil spirits; the bad luck which could befall the couple if the groom sees the bride (the adaptation being in her wedding gown) before the ceremony; the throwing of the bouquet; and that timeless something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue (and a silver sixpence in her shoe)—the bridal mantra for good luck.
But, while these North American wedding traditions seem to be the most well known (and commonly used in television and film), there are a lot of very interesting wedding traditions out there from around the world.
Bulgarian wedding traditions
In Bulgaria, it isn’t just bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding; it is bad luck for the bride to see herself in her gown before the wedding. If she can’t avoid trying the dress on before the ceremony, she at least has to avoid trying on all the accessories as well so the dress can be as incomplete as possible. In order to ward off adversity, she wears red in some form on her bridal veil. And forget flowers to ward off the evil spirits, she carries a clove of garlic in her handkerchief!
When entering the church, the bride must cross the threshold with her right foot first. The bride and groom must not take the same path from the church as they did arriving to it, and to avoid the bad luck of stumbling, the groom carries her over the threshold into their new home. The foods eaten at the reception and after returning from the wedding are also emblematic in Bulgaria. The bride and groom break a loaf of bread to decide who has final say in the family, and the first piece of bread they eat is salty to symbolize the difficulties they will share while the second piece is dipped in honey to remind them of the delights they will share together as a family.
Jumping the Broom
Jumping the broom connects back to the Romani people of the UK, who would elope to marry by jumping over a branch of flowering broom, or besom made of broom. The custom was practiced by English and Scottish gypsies into the 1900s. It was later adopted by African Americans since African slaves were not permitted to marry in America. They would instead show their love and commitment to one another by jumping over the broom to the beat of drums. While jumping the broom itself was never really considered to be legally binding, the tradition has been adopted into current weddings to symbolize the newlywed act of setting up home.
Turkish wedding shoes
In Turkey, before the bride walks down the aisle, she asks her single bridesmaids to sign the bottom of her shoes. After the ceremony is over (as well as all the dancing at the reception), the name that is the most worn is believed to be the next who will marry.
But that isn’t all! During the ceremony, the bride and groom sign the registration book in front of the mayor. Once complete, they race each other to try to step on the top of the other person’s shoes. The first to step on the top of his/her spouse’s shoes is believed to be the person who will run the family from that point on.