Wedding Traditions around the world

Marriages are celebrated according to the Catholic tradition, the festivities which follow are much like the American style: balls in great style, speeches and declarations from the bride and groom, etc…the menu, lots of spicy dishes and inevitably, chocolate, a delicacy widely-known to be an aphrodisiac 

Weddings are celebrated in grand style, often they are young couples who have only just reached the age of eighteen and leave their parents home to start their own families.  In Australia, young people between the ages of  18 and 30 benefit from an allowance of almost one thousand  euros to help them to be independent and find work.  Wedding are celebrated in western style with ostentation and many guests, in the city or in the country, they are always a great occasion for getting together.

According to the Buddhist faith, marriage is not necessary. The couple can be united with a civil ceremony which is not obligatory and stay together.  Those who wish can marry thus giving the families and friends an occasion to celebrate. The wedding begins with the reading of the chapter Hoben and the Jgage, then a few minutes of  Daimoku, after which the bride and groom and the witnesses drink three sips of  sakè from three cups: these cups represent the three stages of existence, the past, the present and the future. Then the guests express their sentiments freely or through a reading after which they wish the couple luck and the ceremony ends with the reading of three Daimoku.

In the north of France, Ireland and great Britain marriages celebrated by druids have become fashionable, even if they no longer have a legal value. The wedding is followed by great festivities and the tradition says that the best time for the wedding is the night  between 30th April and 1st May, the period of the summer equinox, since it is said to be the most fertile……

In  Great Britain, polygamy is not illegal as long as those involved belong to religions which consent this practice.

In the past a man could have more than one wife and marriages were nearly always arranged. Today monogamy is the rule and people marry for love and not for interest as in the past, at least in big cities. The bride’s dress is red.

For Catholics, matrimony undoubtedly assumes a fundamental importance, In every era, this sacrament has been the subject of many encyclicals, documents and papal bulls which have always exalted the ethic and religious values.

More recently, canonical marriage has been decreed by the Italian Episcopal Conference, through  Pope Giovanni Paolo 11’s disposition and it has been in force since February  1991. Divided into various articles, the decree deals with the preparation and celebration of canonical marriages, the documentation necessary, separation, annulment, the dispensation from an unconsummated marriage, among other things.

The Decree was published through the official organ of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

At a Jewish wedding the custom is to break a glass for good luck.  This gesture has various meanings: it symbolises  the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, human fragility, and the transformation which marriage creates in the lives of each person..

A Registry Office marriage is obligatory, only then it is considered legally valid. Furthermore, the couple must present a medical certificate and blood tests to avoid the transmission of diseases. After the Civil ceremony the couple choose whether or not to have a religious ceremony as well. In any case, the bride usually wears a long white gown and after the Registry Office ceremony everyone goes to eat something sweet and drink to the newly-weds’ future.

When she reaches the age of about twenty-five the girl completes a chart giving her personal details, her interests and her aspirations. The chart is then circulated among friends and colleagues and marriage bureaux in order that she can meet and frequent young men who wish to marry. If the two like each other and get on well together, they can choose to marry. Japanese weddings are very characteristic but nowadays many young couples choose a western style wedding even if the older generations are not in favour.

In Greece they smash plates, the mother or the sister of bridegroom will do the throwing!

Marriages are arranged when the couple are still very young; the importance of marriage is fundamental and the festivities last for several days. The ceremony in the temple is very colourful with red and yellow. The different religions have different rules; the Hindu are monogamous and the Muslims are polygamous.

Much importance is given to love in matrimony which is celebrated among an abundance of fruit and flowers. They pray to the god of fertility, which in some of the islands is represented by a rock on the sea bed,  to gain every benevolence.

Marriage is a duty for the devout Muslim: so states the Koran which also declares that a man can have up to four wives plus concubines. Muslims are married very young with a  very intimate civil ceremony. Muslim religious leaders can also get married and have children. Members of royal dynasties can marry in the mosque with great ostentation.

In the Spanish tradition, the bride wears orange blossom in her hair as a  symbol of fertility  

Marriages can be most extravagant or very simple, as for example, college students who marry in a brief ceremony before a Justice of the Peace. Monogamy is the law. Las Vagas is particularly famous for its quick weddings: with the equivalent of about 75,00 euros and a couple of hours to spare, the knot is tied!

Although every country has its own uses and customs regarding marriage, there are some common traditions which are repeated everywhere.

A wedding is always a great occasion to celebrate together, the menu must be special (even if the food is different from one country to another) the wedding cake is a constant feature as is the white bridal gown which is usual in almost all the world.

Money as symbol of good luck

In Spain the groom offers the bride thirteen gold coins as a sign of his future protection and to bear witness to his willingness to take care of her.

In India “TAMIL”  brides decorate their feet with rings embellished with symbolic and zodiacal precious stones which relate to the date of birth. Diamonds have a negative connotation which becomes positive when they are given or received as a gift.

The bride in Sweden carries a silver  coin given by her father in her left shoe and another from her mother in her right shoe.

In Italy

the groom carries a silver coin in his pocket to keep away evil forces.

In Sicily,

two days before the wedding, the families go to the couple’s new home to make the bed. The bride’s mother puts some silver coins into her daughter’s pillowslip while the groom’s mother does the same for her son. This gesture is a symbol of good luck and prosperity.


Floral decorations have great importance for us but in other cultures plants and herbs have other meanings..

The Swedish and Danish  couples fill their pockets with strong smelling herbs such as mint, garlick or rosemary in order to attract good luck.

In India, the bridegroom’s brother showers the couple with rose petals to protect them from evil spirits.

In Greek, during the marriage ceremony , the bride carries an ivy branch , to evoke unending love.

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