“La Serenata” and More Wedding Traditions From Around The World
Unsplash: Victoria Priessnitz
Saying “I do” sounds too good to be true. Probably because these two precious words hold the glittering pen to writing the new chapter of your life. And with that, here's wishing you and your dearest a lifetime's worth of love, happiness, and good fortune. Cheers!
Getting married is one thing. Having “the wedding” is another thing. And that is because the wedding of a lifetime is one of the most awaited celebrations of your life or your best friend’s life. A wedding can be simple and sophisticated like a dreamy backyard wedding, similar to the scene in To All The Boys: Always and Forever. It can also be regal and remarkable like a royal, think about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding at St. George’s Chapel. Or it can be anything and everything under the stars, however you want it to be. Besides, a wedding is really a celebration of commitment and a promise of love between the two lovebirds.
This special moment takes a lot of time and effort, thinking and planning, organizing and replanning. Last but not least, ensuring that the couple's different cultures and customs are honored. And that’s because wedding traditions have historically served as representations of love and luck across cultures.
Regardless of your feelings toward wedding superstitions, you must admit they are interesting and sometimes intriguing. Nevertheless, they provide an opportunity to discover and enjoy the world around you, as well as the many ways of attracting luck for a happy marriage.
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Norway: Brides wear crowns to deflect evil spirits
According to Norwegian tradition, the bride adorns her long veil with a bridal crown made of silver or gold. The crown is meant to represent the woman's purity at her wedding.
Oftentimes, spoon-shaped charms are hung from the crown; it is said that the sound they create wards off evil spirits. Additionally, it's believed that the music coming from the hanging spoons will prevent anything from spoiling the bride's love and happiness.
Armenia: Balance bread
Upon entering their wedding reception, which is most likely at the groom’s place, the newlyweds break a plate for luck and then they are served lavash flatbread and honey by the groom’s mother. Then, the couple balances the bread on their shoulders to keep evil spirits away and they eat spoonfuls of honey for happiness.
Greece: Shaving the beard
The groom’s best man or koumbaro will shave the groom’s beard on the morning of the wedding day to signify trust. After the groom is freshly shaven, his mother-in-law gives him honey and almonds. Later, the bridegroom's close friends assist him in getting ready.
Lebanon: Music and dancing before the ceremony
In Lebanon, the lavish celebration before the wedding is known as zaffe. Both the bride and groom have separate pre-wedding parties which are hosted by their respective families in their own homes. The party features a feast of food, flowers, music, singing, shouting, and a lot of dancing.
Before leaving for the wedding ceremony, the groom is escorted by the zaffe to his bride's house. There, the family showers them with blessings, flower petals, and a gift of jewelry to wear at the wedding.
Wales: A sprig of myrtle in the bridal bouquet
Myrtle leaves are typically carried by the bride in her bouquet to symbolize love, luck, happiness, fertility, and fidelity in marriage. The bride also gives each of her bridesmaids a sprig of myrtle to include in their bouquets for good luck and positivity. The belief is that if the bridesmaid plants the myrtle and it blooms, she will become the next bride.
Fun fact: Since the 1850s, royal brides have included myrtle from the Osborne estate as one of their floral choices. It is believed that the first time it was used in a bridal bouquet was by Queen Victoria, the daughter of Albert and Victoria. Since then, a number of royal brides, including Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, Diana, Princess of Wales, and Queen Elizabeth II, have included the adored flower in their bridal bouquets.
India: Mehndi party
One of the most important events during an Indian wedding is the mehndi party. The celebration happens in the evening before the wedding as a way to wish the bride happiness, luck, love, and good health. The bride's closest friends and the women from the couple's family members come together, and Mehndi is applied on both hands and feet to cool the body.
Romania: Hiding the bride
It is customary for friends and family to abduct the bride before the wedding in Romania. No one knows where the bride is, but the groom must either give a public declaration of love or pay a ransom in the form of alcohol to get her back.
Spain: The bride in black
In a typical Spanish wedding, the bride wears a black lace or silk wedding gown and a matching black lace veil called a mantilla. The bride's all-black attire represents her commitment to the groom and reflects the expression "until death do us part."
Guatemala: Breaking the bell
After the wedding ceremony, the bride is typically given a warm welcome to the home and family by the mother of the groom, who is known as the hostess. In the doorway of the entrance, the hostess breaks the hanging white bell that is filled with rice, flour and other grains to represent good wishes and financial prosperity.
Germany: Sawing a log in half (Baumstamm sägen)
German weddings usually have wedding games, and cutting a log in two is one of the most well-liked activities for the special event. The bride and groom must chop the wood together outside the wedding venue to show their strength and unity as a couple. When the log is cut in half, confetti is tossed and a parade of cars follow the couple to bring in good fortune and ward off evil spirits as they all head to the reception.
Italy: La serenata
The bride is serenaded by the groom outside her window the night before the wedding in a gesture known as La Serenata or The Serenade. After the sweet concert of love, the bride occasionally presents a basket of food and wine as a sign that she accepts the proposal, or a large buffet of food is set out for everyone to enjoy.
Kenya: Father spits on the bride
In the Maasai tribe, the father of the bride blesses his daughter by spitting on her head and breasts before the wedding ceremony. In addition, the bride’s head is also shaved and lamb fat is applied to her skin for luck and fortune. As the bride makes her way to her new house to meet her husband, women from the groom's family insult her in an effort to keep away bad luck.