World’s Weirdest Wedding Customs
June 11, 2008
All over the world, people practice numerous wedding customs that have been passed on through many generations. Although each has a long history of meaning and significance, many just seem strange and out of place in today’s culture. Are they just opportunities to playfully scam the bride and groom?
Check out some of the historical wedding customs that are still practiced today, much to the intrigue and wonderment of its audience.
Blackening the Bride
In the Scottish pre-wedding tradition of “Blackening the Bride,” The bride is taken by surprise and covered with foul substances, such as eggs, various sauces, feathers, and well you name it…
The bride to be, officially blackened, is the then paraded around town, and of course a few pubs, for all to see.
Filmed in Fraserburgh and Rosehearty, in the north east of Scotland in 2007. A bride to be is subjected to a traditional ‘blackening’, one of the strangest of all pre-wedding traditions.
A rather interesting German tradition involves shattering a large number of dishes before the wedding and having the bride and groom cleaned it up.
It is believed that the action of cleaning up the mass collection of broken dishes, which the family and friends have worked so hard to make, will help prepare the couple for their new lives together.
It might be a little destructive but everyone seems to enjoy themselves and like most customs, bring the couple good luck.
Kidnapping the Bride
In many small villages throughout Germany, friends of the bride and groom will kidnap the bride and hide her somewhere.The groom then has to search to find her.
Of course the search always begins in the local pub, for obvious reasons, where the groom will invite everyone to join him in the search, after buying them all a drink.
This ritual has been known to end badly. . .
Log sawing is just another tradition that seems to really test the bride and grooms physical skills.
After the couple are married, a log is positioned between two sawhorses where both the newlyweds must saw in half working together.
This is supposedly a sign of how they will handle things together once they are married.
Germans also wear their matching wedding bands on their right hands not their left.
The couple in this first video obviously have some challenges to look forward to in married like.
Mehndi, Steal the Groom’s Shoes, and the Coin Game
Indian weddings, which are traditionally multi-day affairs, involve many intricate ceremonies, such as “medhndi”, the practice of painting intricate patterns on the bride’s hands and feet.
The idea is to make the bride feel like a princess as she is about to start a new life.
As the video below shows, there is also a special dance and song associated with the Mehndi process.
Stealing the Groom’s Shoes
It might seem odd, but in this custom everyone is either out to steal the groom’s shoes or protect them.
During the ceremony the groom has to remove his shoes prior to entering the alter to be married. Members of the bride’s family are obligated to try to steal the grooms shoes and will go to great lengths to do so. The groom’s family, on the other hand, must protect the shoes and they will also go to extreme measures in order to hide the shoes.
If the bride’s family is successful in stealing the groom’s shoes, then the groom must pay whatever amount of money they request to get his shoes back.
The Coin Game occurs after the wedding festivities, when the bride and groom go to the groom’s parents’ house.
Coins and other items are placed into a large bowl filled with red colored water tinted with sindoor.
The newlyweds place both hands in the bowl in an attempt to retrieve a particular item.
This is done repeatedly and the one who pulls out the most specified items is fated to be the ruler of their home.
Coins and Kissing the Guests
Coins in the Bride’s Shoes
An old, adorable Swedish custom is for the bride to carry coins in her shoes.
A silver coin from her father is placed in the left shoe, while a gold coin from her mother in the right shoe, ensuring she will never go without.
At Swedish wedding receptions, guests may get an opportunity to kiss the bride or groom.
If the bride goes to the restroom, all of the women at the reception line up to kiss the groom.
If the groom exits the room and is out of sight, the men line up to kiss the bride.
Clanging Pots and Pans
The French have an interesting after-wedding tradition known as Chiverie.
During this traditional prank, friends and family of the newly married couple gather in the evening and clang pots and pans, ring bells, and blow horns intended to startle and interrupt the couple.
Upon hearing the noise, the newlyweds are to come out, still wearing their wedding attire, and provide their tormenters various refreshments.
Jumping the Broom
African Americans embrace the “Jumping the broom” ritual. Its origin is a little vague, but its meaning is agreed as the beginning of the newlyweds creating their happy home.
The “Jumping the Broom” is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, either at the ceremony or at the reception, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as wife and husband.
This “leap” into a new life (marriage as wife and husband is performed in the presence of families and friends. You can be as creative as you want when planning for this special ceremony.
Couples celebrate this rich cultural heritage, irrespective of race, religion, and nationality. The most important thing is its significance;
- Honoring and respect of your ancestors, their legacy, and your rich African and African American heritage.
- Coming together of both families, and commitment to each other as wife and husband.
- It represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty, and respect which is essential for a successful marriage.
This ceremony can also be performed at an anniversary or a renewing of vows ceremony.
Iron, Veil, and a Shattered Vase
In Italy it was customary for the groom to carry a talisman, piece of iron, in his pocket on the day of his wedding. The talisman was believed to ward off misfortune, while the bride’s veil covered and protected her from evil spirits.
When the wedding day came to an end, the newly married couple would shatter a vase or glass into many pieces. The number of pieces represented the expected number of years they would be happily married.
In Mexico, during the wedding the Groom bestows his bride a gift of 13 coins, or arras, representing Jesus and his 12 apostles. The coins are to be blessed by the priest and bear the groom’s promise to care for and provide for his wife.
Both Feet on the Floor
In the old days of Ireland, couples dined on salt and oatmeal at the beginning of their reception: both the bride and groom would take three mouthfuls as a protection against the power of the evil eye.
During the reception, when the couple is dancing, the brides feet must remain on the floor. It is said that Fairies love beautiful things and their favorite beautiful thing is a bride. If the bride was to have even one foot off the ground, then she could be swept away by the Fairies.
It is bad luck for a bride, as well as anyone attending the wedding, to wear green at an Irish wedding. It’s also bad luck for a bride or the groom to sing at their own wedding. Of course that last one might have just resulted from a few too many weddings with bad singers…