Love is universal, but tying the knot is different everywhere. Each culture has its own ways of making someone's special day extra special. In Japan for example, a couple takes sips of sake to formalize their union and in India, the groom better hold on to his shoes if he doesn’t want to bribe his wife’s sister! We listed a couple of beautiful and intriguing wedding traditions from around the world.

 

Sake-sharing ceremony, Japan

Love is universal, but tying the knot is different everywhere. Each culture has its own ways of making someone's special day extra special. In Japan for example, a couple takes sips of sake to formalize their union and in India, the groom better hold on to his shoes if he doesn’t want to bribe his wife’s sister! We listed a couple of beautiful and intriguing wedding traditions from around the world.

 

Log cutting, Germany

This old German wedding custom represents the first obstacle that a couple must overcome in their marriage. They must work together by sawing through the log using a large, long saw with two handles. In front of their family and friends, the couple demonstrates their teamwork and their willingness and ability to master the difficulties that inevitably arise in a marriage.

 

A goose for the bride, Korea

In Korea, the marriage between a man and woman represents the joining of two families, rather than the joining of two individuals. In a traditional Korean wedding which was held in the bride's house, a bridegroom's first act was to offer a wooden goose to the bride's family as a token of lifelong fidelity. A pair of wooden geese at the ceremony would represent the new husband and wife. We wondered as to why geese... Apparently, geese symbolize several wedding virtues. For one they have a constant understanding of hierarchy and order (even when flying) and they are monogamous and stick to the same partner for life.

 

Hiding the groom’s shoes, India

Indian wedding celebrations can last for days and are surrounded by rituals and ceremonies. If you were ever lucky enough to attend an Indian wedding celebration, you might have seen Joota Chupai. “Joota Chupai” or hiding the shoes is a fun Indian wedding tradition that starts when the groom sits for the puja, and takes off his shoes. At that point, his saalis (the bride’s sisters/cousins/bridesmaids) steal the shoes and return them for some money. It is the job of groomsmen/groom’s brothers/cousins to not let the bride’s entourage steal the shoes. At the same time the bride’s side has to try their best to get the shoes and hide them. The negotiation for the shoes is an entertaining event since the groom, while desperate not to be fleeced, cannot take his bride home without his shoes. Out of station guests from the bride's side are advised to bargain until they get the price of their tickets reimbursed! Out of station guests from the groom's side are advised to showcase their bargaining skills as this is probably the only chance that they will have to actually flirt with and tease the bride's maids!

Another Indian wedding tradition is the Mehendi ceremony. As part of the pre-wedding ceremonies, there is an Engagement Ceremony where the bride and groom exchange rings and the families exchange gifts and sweets. The Mehendi Ceremony is usually held at the bride's home before the wedding ceremony and is the celebration when the bride's palms, wrists, arms, legs, and feet are decorated with henna, representing the joy, hope, and love of the occasion. According to popular belief the darker the colour of her mehendi, the more her husband will love her. At the ceremony, in addition to the bride, all the women from the bride and groom's side also flock around the mehendi artist to get their palms decorated.

 

Spitting on the bride, Kenya

In Kenya, as the freshly married bride and groom leave the village, the father of a Masai bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest. The Masai strongly believe that by being disrespectful as opposed to praising them too much, they avoid tempting fate and bringing bad luck to the marriage.

 

Carrying fire, South Africa

Everyone inherits traditions and in South Africa where cultures and races have come together in a stunning blend, you have a mixed foundation in customs. The most poignant wedding tradition in South Africa is when the parents of the bride and groom carry fire from their fireplaces in their homes to the home of the newlyweds where together they light up the hearth. The bride and groom use the flames provided from their childhood homes to ignite the hearth in their new home together.

 

Unity bowl, Australia

This tradition is a way to honor multiple generations of the bride‘s and groom’s families, and/or a way to include any children that the couple may have. The couple selects a glass bowl they would enjoy having in their new home. Each grandparent, parent, and so on is given a bud vase filled with a different color of flat colored marbles, with the separate colors signifying the individuality of each family member. The grandparents pour their separate colors into the Unity Bowl as the foundation of the wedding of the bride and groom followed by each set of parents. This beautiful tradition help remind everybody that in their own way, all have colored the lives of the bride and groom.

 

Every culture celebrates marriage in a different way. Sometimes, the traditional wedding rituals have become lost through time. Other times, they are still part of the wedding without many people remembering why. Fortunately some traditions do not get lost and are still part of ceremonies, even after many years. Nowadays weddings also allow adopting traditions from other cultures into their own, creating a beautiful eclectic and personal day.