14 Unique Wedding Customs from Around the World
For many countries, wedding customs tend to have their normal routines - from a father walking his daughter down the aisle to exchanging vows and wedding bands. However, in today's post, we'll be taking a look at some common, yet unique, wedding customs from around the world and how they vary from culture to culture.
- Mongolia, China - Daur Chick Liver
Couples must take a knife and slaughter a chick together. Why? The date of their wedding is divinely chosen by the appearance of the slaughtered chicken's liver. If the liver looks healthy, then they're set to marry, but if the liver has a poor appearance, they must continue completing the tradition until divine ordinance bids it a good one.
- Romania - Abduction of the Bride
It might sound scary, but it's a playful tradition. Wedding guests work together to abduct the bride, sweeping her off to an unknown location. The guests will then demand a ransom from the groom so he can receive his bride and be married. Common ransoms involve having to perform embarrassing acts in front of the ceremony's guests or donating some bottles of wine and alcohol.
- Venezuela - Where Are the Bride and Groom?
It's considered good luck for the newly married couple to sneak out of their ceremony before anyone notices. It's a good sign that they're off to begin their family. It's similarly good luck for whichever guest first catches their disappearance.
- Lebanon - It's a Celebration!
Lebanese wedding celebrations will sometimes be planned as a Zaffe: a rambunctious party full of music, belly dancing, shouting, flowers, party favours, and more. This takes place before the wedding ceremony itself, considered a pre-marriage parade from the bride and groom's home to the location where they're going to be married.
- South Korea - Beating the Groom's Feet
Before the groom can leave with his bride, he must remove his shoes and socks to undergo this tradition. Sometimes groomsmen will take them off for him and bind his ankles so he cannot move. His feet are then beaten with a dried fish or stick. This usually happens following a failure to correctly answer questions about his bride prior to the wedding.
- Germany - Broken Porcelain
Guests usually head to the home of the bride the night before the wedding. While here, they will break a piece of porcelain within the home. This tradition is thought to bring the couple good luck, as the couple is made to clean up the broken porcelain together, teaching them that married life will have its struggles and that it takes a cooperative effort to move on together.
- India - Kumbh Vivah
In Indian culture, men and women born while Mars is situated in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of their astrological moon sign are thought to be cursed. This curse is believed to negatively affect their marriages. To avoid such complications, the accursed bride or groom is made to marry a statue of Vishnu or a banana tree prior to the marriage—known as a Kumbh Vivah.
- Peru - For the Single Women
Peruvian wedding cakes are covered with ribbons as added charms. One of these includes a unique wedding ring - in this case, intended to be a fake. The single women in attendance at the ceremony are asked to approach the cake and pull a single ribbon, termed as the "cake pull." Whichever single woman pulls out the fake wedding ring is foretold to be the next to marry, similar to the common bridal bouquet throw tradition.
- Pakistan - Islamic Mahr
Sometimes called the Meher, the Mahr is a known dowry that is given to the bride's family by the groom. Gifts usually include money, unique rings, and jewellery, or valuable property. It is a specific sign of sharing wealth between families, joining them as one under the contract of marriage.
While the Mahr will be performed in other countries with Muslim populations, the women's fashion and attire will vary, depending on the traditions and origin of the bride and groom's families.
- Armenia - Flatbread on the Shoulder
Thought to ward evil spirits away from their marriage ceremony and future together, Armenians will partake in a tradition where lavash flatbread is balanced on the shoulder. First, the bride and groom will break a plate prior to their wedding reception; next, they're both given flatbread, layered with honey, to balance on their shoulders. Beyond warding off evils, it's known to bring happiness to their future together.
- Scotland - Blackening the Bride and Groom
Have you, as a bride or groom, ever wanted to be slathered in muck? Scotland's "blackening" tradition does just this, where family and friends will come together to douse the soon-to-be couple in whatever disgusting items they can find, from rotted fish to mud to curdled milk. This joyous celebration is thought to ward off evil spirits. Its current reproductions come from a place of tradition and a play in humorous humility.
- Sichuan Province, China - The Crying Ritual
Common among the Tujia people, this custom starts 30 days prior to the wedding, where the bride will begin crying for an hour a day, every day. After ten days, her mother will join her. Ten days later, her grandmother will join the two of them. While seemingly sad, it's an expression of pure joy shared between generations.
- Mexico - Lasso of Love
During the wedding ceremony, the officiating minister will drape a lasso—made of rosary beads and flowers—over the shoulders of the bride and groom. Shaped as a figure-eight, the lasso is meant to resemble "infinity," showcasing an everlasting love between the couple.
- Japan - Dress the Part
Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash
On the wedding day, the bride will begin the ceremony by dressing for the traditional Shinto ceremony. Her attire will involve wearing white from head to toe, from makeup to a traditional hood, called a tsunokakushi. White is worn for the symbol of purity it exudes, while the hood is said to hide the "horns" she feels toward her soon-to-be mother in law.