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Wedding traditions and the meanings behind them

Wedding traditions and the meanings behind them

Those age-old wedding traditions are, most of the time, a simple MUST when the ceremony is underway. But have you ever taken a minute to think about why these traditions are incorporated in weddings? It isn’t, as some may say, a repetition of all other weddings, but a symbol to much more than the usual “that is how a wedding goes.”

That being said, let’s take a walk down the wedding aisle of tradition to have a look at some of the world’s most unique wedding traditions and the hidden meanings behind them.

Releasing of white doves

Isn’t it a beautiful sight; watching snowy white doves being released into the sunset? This magnificent tradition doesn’t only represent the sheer beauty of marriage and love, its symbolism carries a far more important message. When a bride and groom release two doves in front of the guests on their wedding day, it represents that the couple intends to live a long, harmonious and peaceful life together.

The cutting of a log

Although it may not seem like the type of job a bride should do on her wedding day while wearing her perfect gown, the log cutting wedding tradition represents the bride and groom’s ability to work together. While working together to cut the log into halves, the couple complete their first “work as a team” task as man and wife; something that is needed in order for a marriage to succeed.

Breaking of the white bell

Not all wedding traditions include only the bride and groom. The mother of the groom partakes in this tradition by breaking a white bell filled with rice, grains and flour. She does this to welcome the couple to their wedding ceremony as it represents prosperity and luck for the newlyweds. 

Applying of Henna

A truly remarkable art piece is that of many Indian weddings where Henna is used. Henna, a type of dye, is applied on the skin of the bride and other female guests to represent joy, love and hope for the wedding that is to take place. The designs painted onto the skin are magnificent pieces of art and further carries the beauty of the occasion to an entirely new level.

The fire carrying wedding tradition

Another amazing wedding tradition is that of carrying the fire. The parents of the newlywed couple bring fire from their home fireplaces straight to the home of the wedding couple. The bride and groom then use these fires to ignite a fire in their own furnace to represent the coming together of two families and building a new home and family together.

Red veils and umbrellas

At Chinese weddings, red is a powerful colour and represents love, luck and boldness. A Chinese bride would wear a red veil over her face and the mother of the bride holds a red umbrella over the bride’s head during the ceremony. The red umbrella symbolises fertility and encourages the bride to start her own family.

Taking the bride hostage

What may seem quite hostile, is actually a fantastic way for the bride and groom to have a little fun on their wedding day. The bride is abducted by family members and guests at the wedding while the groom needs to pay the ransom for her release by making use of romantic gestures, drinks and treats.

The money dance

At many traditional Polish weddings, the bride buys dances from the guests at the ceremony. The meaning behind this tradition is actually quite a clever, yet cunning way of covering expenses! The bride’s maid of honour goes around collecting the fees for these dances and it goes towards the newlywed’s honeymoon. Clever, right?

Breaking of the glass

At a traditional Jewish wedding, the groom will break a glass with his right foot. This usually happens right after the groom has given his bride her wedding ring. The glass, covered in a cloth napkin, is placed under the groom’s foot where steps on it to crush it. The guests then shout “Mazel Tov”, which means “congratulations”.

Although we’re moving into the modern era of weddings, we should never let the traditional wedding celebrations behind as these are the base of our heritage and symbolise all that a wedding should be. These traditions can be modernised with a little twist, but the symbolism behind these wedding traditions will always be the same – bringing luck, love, prosperity and a fertile marriage for a couple in love and ready to build a bright future together!

To read more about Wedding Traditions please purchase your latest issue of Wedding Essentials & Essentials Groom Magazine. The magazine is distributed nationally through all major retail outlets such as CNA stores,  Clicks  stores, Pick n Pay stores, Spar stores and selected OK stores in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area, Checkers & Checkers Hyper stores, Exclusive books stores, and  the airport  lounges of both Cape town & Johannesburg.

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