“Unveiling Global Traditions: Celebrating Love and Unity Through Marriage Customs”
In this article “Cultural Practices Surrounding Marriage and Weddings”, We will look at 20 traditions from around the world that have to do with marriage and weddings. You’ll find these traditions both interesting and heartwarming, whether you’re planning your own wedding or are just interested in how different people have different traditions.
Everywhere in the world, people get married to show their love and commitment. However, the traditions and customs that go along with weddings are very different from one culture or region to the next. People do a lot of different ceremonies and rituals to get married, which demonstrates how diverse human culture is and highlights the rich tapestry of cultural practices in different countries.
20 Famous Cultural Practices Surrounding Marriage and Weddings from Around the World
People all over the world celebrate love and commitment at weddings, but the traditions and customs that go along with them are very different from one culture or region to the next. We will look at 20 Cultural Practices Surrounding Marriage and Weddings from Around the World that have to do with marriage and weddings. You’ll find these traditions both interesting and heartwarming, whether you’re planning your own wedding or are just interested in how different people have different traditions.
1. The Colorful Mehndi Ceremony
One of the cultural practices surrounding marriage and weddings from around the world is the Mehndi ceremony, which is an important part of the celebrations leading up to the wedding in India. A lot of intricate henna designs are drawn on the bride’s hands and feet during this part of the ceremony. The purpose of these patterns is to make you feel love and luck.
Read more about the Mehndi Ceremony here. In many South Asian cultures, this is a beautiful and complicated ritual that happens before a wedding.
Key Aspects: The Colorful Mehndi Ceremony
|Significance:||This colourful ritual symbolises love, purity, and auspiciousness.|
|Timing:||A day or two before the wedding day as part of the pre-wedding celebrations.|
|Participants:||It involves the bride, her female friends, and family members.|
|Ritual:||Henna paste, made from crushed henna leaves, is applied to the bride’s hands and feet in intricate patterns.|
|Music and Dance:||Music, singing, and dancing often accompany the Mehndi ceremony.|
|Process:||Uses cones or brushes to create detailed and artistic patterns.|
|Duration:||The ceremony can last for several hours.|
2. The Ancient Tea Ceremony
Weddings in Japan frequently include a traditional tea ceremony as part of the festivities. During the event, the bride and groom demonstrate their gratitude and respect for their parents by painstakingly preparing and serving tea to their guests. This action also serves as a token of appreciation for their guests.
Key Aspects: The Ancient Tea Ceremony
|Significance:||Expressing gratitude and respect|
|Timing:||During Japanese weddings|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, parents, and close relatives|
|Ritual:||Careful preparation and presentation of tea|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Japanese music may accompany|
|Process:||Bride and groom serve tea to their parents, who offer blessings|
|Duration:||Typically a brief but solemn ceremony|
3. The Lasso Ritual
Traditional Mexican weddings involve the use of a floral or beaded lasso, which is then wrapped around the couple in the shape of a figure eight. This is meant to symbolise the couple’s commitment to each other for the rest of their lives.
Key Aspects: The Lasso Ritual
|Significance:||Symbolizes eternal unity and commitment|
|Timing:||During the wedding ceremony|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, officiant, and sometimes guests|
|Ritual:||Floral or beaded lasso draped around the couple|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Mexican music and dancing may occur|
|Process:||Officiant places the lasso around the couple|
|Duration:||Typically a brief moment during the ceremony|
4. Kissing Coins
The guests at a Swedish wedding have an interesting tradition of clinking their glasses together in order to encourage the bride and groom to kiss. After this, the guests give the couple “kiss money” in the form of coins that are placed in a hat and present it to them as a gift.
Key Aspects: Kissing Coins
|Significance:||Encouraging kisses between the bride and groom.|
|Timing:||During the wedding reception.|
|Participants:||Wedding guests and the newlyweds.|
|Ritual:||Guests clink glasses to prompt the bride and groom to kiss.|
|Music and Dance:||Usually accompanied by cheers and celebration.|
|Process:||Coins are placed in a hat as guests clink glasses, and the couple kisses each time.|
|Duration:||Throughout the wedding reception.|
5. Yoruba Jumping the Broom
The Yoruba people of Nigeria have a tradition in which the bride and groom jump over a broomstick as part of their wedding ceremony. This acts as a symbolic representation of their transition from single life to married life.
Key Aspects: Yoruba Jumping the Broom
|Origin:||Yoruba culture in Nigeria|
|Significance:||Symbolizes the transition to marriage|
|Timing:||During the wedding ceremony|
|Participants:||Bride and groom|
|Ritual:||Couple jumps over a broomstick|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Yoruba music and dance|
|Process:||Bride and groom jump over broom|
|Duration:||A few minutes|
6. The Breaking of Plates
At Greek weddings, it is common practise to celebrate the happy occasion by breaking plates. This tradition also serves the dual purpose of warding off any evil spirits that may be in attendance.
Key Aspects: The Breaking of Plates
|Significance:||Symbolizes joy and wards off evil spirits|
|Timing:||During Greek wedding ceremonies|
|Participants:||Friends and family members|
|Ritual:||Smashing plates on the ground|
|Music and Dance:||Often accompanied by traditional Greek music|
|Process:||Guests break plates to create a festive atmosphere|
|Duration:||Typically a brief part of the wedding celebration|
7. The Goose and Gander Tradition
“Yungnye” is the name of a traditional card game that is played in South Korea. In this game, the groom has to locate the hidden wooden goose that the bride has hidden, and the bride has to locate the gander that the groom has hidden. This activity is intended to serve as a metaphor for teamwork and cooperation.
Key Aspects: The Goose and Gander Tradition
|Significance:||Symbolizes teamwork and cooperation in marriage|
|Timing:||During the wedding ceremony|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, and sometimes wedding guests|
|Ritual:||Groom finds bride’s hidden wooden goose; bride finds groom’s gander|
|Music and Dance:||May include traditional Korean music and dance|
|Process:||Guests witness and often cheer during the game|
|Duration:||Typically a brief, lighthearted moment in the ceremony|
8. Maasai Spitting
Before the actual wedding ceremony, the Maasai people of Kenya have the bride’s father spit on her head and chest in order to bless her and drive away any evil spirits that may be present. This is done before the groom’s father gives his son away.
Key Aspects: Maasai Spitting
|Origin:||Maasai people in Kenya|
|Significance:||Blessing and warding off evil spirits|
|Timing:||Before the wedding ceremony|
|Participants:||Father of the bride, bride|
|Ritual:||Father of the bride spits on her head and chest|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Maasai songs and dances|
|Process:||Father’s blessing with spitting|
|Duration:||Brief, typically a few minutes|
9. Throwing the bouquet
At the wedding reception, the bride traditionally tosses her bouquet to the single women in attendance. This tradition is common in many Western cultures. It is said that the woman who manages to grab hold of the bridal bouquet will be the next person to tie the knot.
Key Aspects: Throwing the bouquet
|Origin:||particularly England and France|
|Significance:||Symbolizes passing on happiness and good luck|
|Timing:||Typically during the reception or after the ceremony|
|Participants:||Bride, unmarried female guests|
|Ritual:||The bride tosses her bouquet to the single female guests.|
|Music and Dance:||Often accompanied by upbeat, celebratory music|
|Process:||The bride stands with her back to the single female guests, tosses the bouquet backward,|
|Duration:||Usually a brief moment during the reception, followed by celebrations|
10. The Henna Night
A traditional event for Moroccan brides is called a “henna night,” and during this event, the bride and her female friends and family members all get their hands decorated with henna while listening to music and dancing.
Key Aspects: The Henna Night
|Significance:||Blessing the bride, protection from evil spirits|
|Participants:||Bride, female friends, and family members|
|Ritual:||Application of intricate henna designs|
|Music & Dance:||Traditional Moroccan music and dancing|
|Process:||Bride’s hands decorated with henna, often includes music and dancing|
|Duration:||Typically several hours, an evening event|
11. Blackening the Bride and Groom
Before the wedding, it is traditional for the bride and groom to be covered in a variety of messy substances by the bride’s and groom’s friends and family members. These substances can include molasses, feathers, and flour, among other things.
|Significance:||Warding off evil spirits and bringing good luck to the couple|
|Participants:||Friends and family of the bride and groom|
|Ritual:||Covering the couple in various messy substances.|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Scottish music may accompany the ritual|
|Process:||Friends and family surprise the couple, cover them in messy substances.|
|Duration:||Usually a short, playful ritual that lasts a short time.|
12. Blanket Ceremony
During the blanket ceremony, which is performed by some Native American tribes, the couple actually wraps themselves in a blanket to symbolise their new life together as well as the warmth they will provide to each other. This act also serves as a metaphor for how they will keep each other warm.
Key Aspects: Blanket Ceremony
|Origin:||Various Native American tribes, especially Navajo and Lakota.|
|Significance:||Symbolizes the couple’s new life together and the warmth they’ll provide each other.|
|Timing:||Typically performed during the wedding ceremony.|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, officiant, and sometimes close family members.|
|Ritual:||The bride and groom wrap themselves in a blanket, often with specific colors or patterns, signifying their unity and shared future.|
|Music and Dance:||May involve traditional Native American music or drumming, and sometimes, a special dance.|
|Process:||The couple stands or sits facing each other.|
13. Bread and Salt Tradition
At weddings held in Russia, the parents of the couple are obligated to give their children a loaf of bread and a salt shaker as a gift to the newlyweds. This is done as a symbol of good health and financial stability.
Key Aspects: Bread and Salt Tradition
|Significance:||Symbolizes health and prosperity.|
|Timing:||Typically occurs during the wedding ceremony.|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, and their parents.|
|Ritual:||Parents greet the couple with bread and salt.|
|Music and Dance:||May include traditional Russian music.|
|Process:||Parents offer the bread and salt, and the couple accepts it as a blessing.|
|Duration:||A brief but significant moment in the wedding ceremony.|
14. The Unity Candle
At Brazilian weddings, the couple will join their lives together in front of their family and friends by lighting a unity candle together as a symbol of their commitment to one another throughout their lives.
Key Aspects: The Unity Candle
|Origin:||United States, popularized in the late 20th century|
|Significance:||Symbolizes the merging of two lives into one|
|Timing:||Typically performed during the wedding ceremony|
|Participants:||Bride and groom, sometimes their parents or other family|
|Ritual:||Two individual candles (representing each partner) are lit, then together they light a larger central candle, symbolizing unity|
|Music and Dance:||Often accompanied by soft, meaningful music|
|Process:||The bride and groom each take a candle, light them, and then simultaneously light the central candle|
|Duration:||Usually a brief and symbolic part of the wedding ceremony|
15. The Coin Dance
During wedding ceremonies in Iceland, guests dance with the bride and groom while pinning coins to their clothing. This is done as a way to contribute to the couple’s future finances and is a tradition that dates back centuries.
Key Aspects: The Coin Dance
|Significance:||Guests pin coins to the bride and groom’s clothes to help with their future finances.|
|Timing:||Typically during the wedding reception.|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, and wedding guests.|
|Ritual:||Guests dance with the couple and pin coins to their clothing.|
|Music and Dance:||Energetic music and dancing,traditional Icelandic tunes.|
|Process:||Guests take turns dancing with the bride and groom, pinning coins to their attire as they dance.|
|Duration:||Usually lasts for a significant portion of the wedding reception, creating a festive atmosphere.|
16. Sugar-Coated Almonds
At Persian weddings, guests traditionally toss sugar-coated almonds at the newlywed couple as a symbol of sweetness and a prosperous future.
Key Aspects: Sugar-Coated Almonds
|Significance:||Symbolize sweetness and a bright future for the couple|
|Timing:||Often during the wedding reception or as wedding favors|
|Participants:||Wedding guests and sometimes the couple|
|Ritual:||Guests throw sugar-coated almonds at the couple|
|Music and Dance:||Typically accompanied by traditional wedding music|
|Process:||Guests participate by tossing almonds at the couple|
|Duration:||Brief moment during the wedding reception|
17. The Umbrella Ceremony
During the wedding ceremony in Ethiopia, the bride and groom will follow local custom by being escorted under a brightly coloured umbrella by their friends and family members.
Key Aspects: The Umbrella Ceremony
|Significance:||Symbolizes protection and unity in marriage|
|Timing:||During the wedding ceremony|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, friends, and family|
|Ritual:||Couple escorted under a colorful umbrella|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Ethiopian music and dance|
|Process:||Friends and family hold the umbrella over them|
|Duration:||Brief, typically part of the wedding ceremony|
18. Tossing the rice
When the bride and groom leave the reception, guests in many different cultures have the custom of throwing rice at them as they leave the venue. It is commonly held belief that doing so will symbolically bring both fertility and financial success to the couple.
Key Aspects: Tossing the rice
|Origin:||Ancient tradition in multiple cultures|
|Significance:||Symbolizes fertility, prosperity, and good luck|
|Timing:||After the wedding ceremony or during exit|
|Ritual:||Guests toss rice grains at the couple|
|Music and Dance:||Typically accompanied by celebratory music and dance|
|Process:||Guests gather and throw rice at the couple as they depart|
|Duration:||Usually a brief moment during the exit|
19. La Noce
In the rural areas of France, a joyous celebration known as “La Noce” takes place once a year. During this time, members of the community get together to celebrate a wedding, dress up in costumes, and enjoy folk music and traditional dances. This festive occasion typically takes place either before or after the wedding, and it invites the bride and groom’s friends and family members to participate in an exciting cultural and social display.
Key Aspects: La Noce
|Significance:||Community celebration of a wedding|
|Timing:||Typically held before or after the wedding|
|Participants:||Community members, friends, and family|
|Ritual:||Dressing up in costumes, music, and dancing|
|Music and Dance:||Folk music and traditional dances|
|Process:||Community members wear costumes, gather, and celebrate the wedding|
|Duration:||Can vary, usually a one-day event|
20. The Rooster’s Crow
The newlyweds are awakened from their sleep by the crowing of a rooster during the wedding ceremonies that take place in Vietnam. This is meant to symbolise the beginning of their life together as husband and wife.
Key Aspects: The Rooster’s Crow
|Significance:||Symbolizes the start of married life|
|Timing:||Early morning on the wedding day|
|Participants:||Bride, groom, and wedding guests|
|Ritual:||Couple awakened by a rooster’s crow|
|Music and Dance:||Traditional Vietnamese wedding music and dance|
|Process:||Rooster’s crow announces the beginning of the day|
|Duration:||Brief, occurring at the start of the wedding day|
Do you like lively celebrations and cultural shows? Famous Cultural Festivals Celebrating Music and Dance is a great read for you. Enter a world of rhythms, melodies, and happy gatherings where music and dance bring the rich tapestry of cultures around the world to life.
Marriage and wedding traditions from different parts of the world are illustrative of the diverse range of human cultural expressions. These traditions, which are frequently steeped in history and symbolism, lend an individual air to every single wedding ceremony and reception. Traditions such as the colourful Mehndi ceremony in India, the tea ceremony in Japan, and the lasso ritual in Mexico each provide a window into the varied ways in which people express love, commitment, and unity.
Why do wedding traditions differ so greatly from one culture to the next?
Because of cultural, historical, and religious differences, wedding traditions vary. They frequently reflect a community’s or region’s values, beliefs, and customs.
Are these cultural customs still observed at modern weddings?
Many cultural practices remain an important part of modern weddings, while others have evolved or been adapted to suit modern tastes and preferences.
Are couples able to incorporate elements from various cultural traditions into their weddings?
Yes, many couples choose to incorporate elements from various cultural traditions into their wedding ceremonies in order to celebrate their diverse backgrounds or simply to add unique touches to their ceremonies.