If Hollywood movies were to be believed, weddings celebrations would be nothing more than a few showers, hen and stag dos, a rehearsal dinner, and culminating with the ceremony. However, in most cultures that simply isn’t the case. There are tons of amazing and beautiful traditions from around the world which take place during the week leading up to the wedding and during the ceremony. Here is a list of our favorites.
Breaking Dishes In Germany:
While wedding ceremonies in Germany tend to be just close friends and family, Polterabend is when the couple invites colleagues and their wider circle of friends to laugh, eat, drink, and then break old dishes that the guest brought with them and which the couple then has to sweep up together. This joint clean up of all the broken pottery represents the couple dealing with all of life’s trials and tribulations as a team and working together to overcome any obstacle.
The Mehndi Ceremony:
Indian weddings tend to be week long events filled with dance, song, eating, and finally the wedding itself. One of the most famous parts of this week is the Mehndi ceremony, where the bride and other women’s hands and feet are decorated with traditional and intricate designs. Traditionally used as a way to calm and ground the bride before the wedding, now it is a lovely way to add a little good luck to the bride and groom, who is now often part of the ceremony too.
Let’s Get Ready To Shop:
In Nigeria, the Igbo Tribe presents the groom to be with a dowry list to find and give to the family before the couple is allowed to be married. There can items ranging from food and clothing to harder to find objects like alligator teeth, just to add a little challenge for the future groom. If the bride is highly educated, the dowry can get bigger, providing a bigger challenge.
In Mexico, grooms present brides with 13 gold coins, called arras. The gifting of these coins symbolizes the trust the groom has for the bride with his finances. She accepts them with the promise to handle them with care and responsibility. The coins, which represent Christ and the apostles, are given in an ornate box on a silver tray, to bring good luck and prosperity to the marriage.
In China, the newly wedded couple, come together and serve tea to both sets of parents. This is to honor all the love and support parents have given to the bride and groom. It is also a way the couple signifies their new relationships with their in-laws, by referring to everyone by their new names as the young couple serves tea to everyone.
War Dance At A Wedding:
While traditionally, the Haka is a war dance used mainly as an intimidation tactic to scare the opposing side, it is now being performed at Maori weddings. The bride’s family uses the Haka as a way to test the groom’s bravery and dedication to the bride. The men of the bride’s family and bridesmaids stand in front of the couple and call out the groom, who then responds by performing a haka back at them to prove his love for the bride.