Wedding Traditions You’ve Never Heard Of
America is a true melting pot. Though the whole notion of the “melting pot” to describe a culture or nation came about back in the late 1700s. Then, it took off in the early 1900s to describe the fusion of nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities across our country. Because of the diversity of those who live in the United States, foods, activities, behaviors, and so much more have been altered and shifted a bit from how they were historically. And with weddings, it is no different.
Wedding traditions that really are a thing
Most Americans are familiar with the Jewish tradition of stepping on the glass to represent the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. But the beautiful aspect of this tradition is its symbolism that pieces of shattered glass can never be repaired to their original state. Thus, marriage is an irrevocable bond between a wife and her husband. But there are many lesser-known traditions too.
Here is a list of five traditions that are new to you, but really are a thing.
1) Can you imagine sawing a log on your wedding day? In Germany, this tradition consists of the bride and groom working together with a hand saw to saw through a large log. The tradition represents the success of the newlyweds working through their first challenge together. This activity is all about teamwork with family, friends, and other loved ones cheering on the couple from the sidelines.
2) In South Africa, twelve symbolic items are incorporated into the wedding ceremony. These items include a bible, salt, pepper, wheat, wine, a broom, a spear, a spoon, bitter herbs, honey, a shield, and a pot. Similar to the concept of the German log, each of these items represents a challenge that the couple will need to face during their marriage. We’ll leave it to you to determine what each item symbolizes.
3) What if you were the mother of the bride and your new son-in-law gifted you with ducks or geese? Well, today that might be a bit shocking. But historically, this was a traditional gift that was expected and well received. Thankfully, this South Korean tradition has been replaced by gifting wooden ducks or geese instead of real ones.
4) Sweden perhaps offers one of the sweetest traditions, and this practice is actually a common occurrence at many American weddings. Though many brides and grooms don’t realize it, the tradition of the couple stealing a kiss whenever a glass is dinged actually came from Sweden. But, the part that most Americans don’t realize is also the tradition is that anytime the bride or groom leaves the room of the other (during the reception), guests can go steal a kiss from the remaining newlywed.
5) In India, the bride and groom remove their shoes when entering the mandap where the wedding ceremony will take place. Then, the groom’s shoes are stolen by the bride’s sisters or cousins, and the groom must pay a ransom to get them back so that he can leave with shoes. What the payment was to be, is not entirely clear.
The garter tradition
Now, one tradition that we’re probably all familiar with is the garter toss. However, the history of the garter toss is a bit unclear. Some stories of where this tradition came from are simply not repeatable. Better versions of the story include one that originated in France and England. Historically, guests would try to obtain a piece of the bride’s dress for good luck. With the fear of the bride’s dress being ripped to shreds, the groom took to the garter as a way of tossing a piece of the bride’s wedding attire to guests in the crowd as the bride and groom fled their reception.
And if you need more traditions, take a look at the one from Denmark. The one with the sock and the scissors? We’ll let you look that one up on your own.