Wedding Superstitions & Traditions from Around the World
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about wedding superstitions, from the well-known and oft-followed to the more obscure and quirky of traditions that go far beyond exchanging matching wedding bands. We still see these traditions today (some more than others), but traditional wedding practices vary from culture to culture. Check out these superstitions and wedding traditions from other parts of the world!
Interesting Wedding Traditions from Around the World
From Italy — Smashing a Glass
Italian couples celebrate their nuptials by smashing a glass enthusiastically during the wedding ceremony. Tradition says that every shard of glass represents one happy year of marriage. The more pieces the better!
From India — Have a Hungry Cat
In India, tradition says that it’s good luck for the happy couple if a cats gnaws on either the groom or the bride’s left shoe a week before the wedding.
From Ireland — Sounding the Bells
This is one of the wedding superstitions that still exists today. In Ireland, church bells rung during the wedding ceremony are said to chase away evil spirits and promise a happy family life for the couple. In the modern age, some brides carry small bells in their bouquets or receive bells as a wedding gift.
From Finland — Carry the Match
In Finland, the bride carries an unlit match with her down the aisle. It’s meant to ensure a lasting, burning passion between the bride and her groom.
From India and the Middle East — Henna Parties
In India as well as the Middle East, the ornate decoration of a bride’s hands and feet with henna (mehndi) is more than just a beautiful art. Henna has long represented good luck, health and sensuality. The application of mehndi can take hours, and this ritual is often made into “henna parties,” for the bride and her friends. Sometimes, the groom’s initials are hidden in the intricate designs. If he can find his initials on the wedding night, it’s said to be good luck. If he can’t, then he’s supposed to give his wife a gift.
From Greece — Bring Something Sweet
In Greek culture, a bride can bring sweetness to her married life by placing a sugar cube in her glove for the wedding ceremony.
From China — The Original Red Weddings
Chinese brides don’t dress in white (instead of symbolizing purity, white is worn for funerals). Instead, the traditional Chinese bride wears a qipao, which is a red silk dress with gold detail. Red is a common thread throughout the entire wedding, as it is a symbol of luck, joy, wealth and love.
12 Very Superstitious Wedding traditions:
Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding
You’re not supposed to see each other before the bride makes her aisle debut. Believe it or not, this superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages. People believed a meeting before the wedding might cause the wedding to be called off. Of course, some couples still practice this superstition, but others are now seeing each other before the ceremony for wedding photos.
Blind Men and Pregnant Women
This is another superstition that dates back to the time of arranged marriage. During this time, the groom would send a family member or friend to meet the potential bride. However, that friend or family member had to watch out for this bad omen: seeing a blind man or a pregnant woman on his way to meet the bride.
Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
Each of these items represents something for the bride. “Something old” symbolizes the bride’s past, and “something new” represents the couple’s anticipated bright future. Superstition states that the bride receive her “something borrowed’ from a friend or family member that is already happily married. The bride’s “something blue” signifies love and devotion.
Dropping Your Rings
Don’t drop those matching wedding rings! This is another strange superstition: whoever drops a wedding band first will be the first to die, so make sure you and your partner hold onto those rings tightly!
Wedding Dress Colors
Most brides wear white or some shade of off-white, which has something to do with the purity of white and what it signifies. But did you know that other dress colors can signify the happiness of your marriage? Check out this superstitious rhyme: Married in red, you will wish yourself dead. Married in black, you will wish yourself back. Married in pink, your spirit will sink. Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow. Married in grey, you will go far away. Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
The Wedding Veil
Wedding veils are beautiful, but they’re also extremely useful, according to an old superstition. In Roman tradition, veils are used to ward off evil spirits who are jealous of the bride’s happiness. Just think about that the next time you’re considering forgoing the veil.
If a couple’s two last names start with the same letter, it’s bad luck.
According to an old Victorian rhyme, if you and your spouse-to-be share the same last initial, you may be in trouble: “To change the name and not the letter/Is to change for the worst and not the better.”
The ring finger is a love line.
Why is that diamond engagement ring and those wedding bands worn on the fourth finger of the left hand? People once thought that a vein in this ring finger led directly to the heart – which is a romantic sentiment to think about as you and your spouse exchange matching wedding rings.
Spiders are good luck.
If you find a scary eight-legged creature on your wedding day, ponder this before running away in terror: spiders are a “best of luck omen” according to English legend. So finding one in your wedding attire or on top of your matching wedding rings would be an excellent sign!
Marrying in May is bad luck.
Spring weddings may be a popular trend now, but an old marriage rhyme warns against May nuptials: “Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.”
Bury the bourbon to let the sun in.
According to Southern tradition, burying a bottle of bourbon one month prior to the wedding will prevent rain from bringing down the party. (You may not want to tell too many people where it’s buried in case they want to drink your good weather guarantee!)
Cake brings you together.
Sharing a little sweetness is good for your unity as a couple, according to one wedding superstition. A couple cutting the cake at the same time represents their shared future.
What wedding traditions will you incorporate into your ceremony?
Before you walk down the aisle, find your perfect pair of matching wedding rings.