Origins of Wedding Traditions

by Jenny Bryde 21. September 2009 00:42

Today, readers I want you to sit and make a list of events and must haves that occur on a typical wedding day.  I bet somewhere on your list are the brides bouquet, the wedding ring, the rice toss, the dollar dance, and maybe even the shoes tied to the back of the get away car...

If you ask a bride or groom why they do these things, their answer will simply be, "It's tradition."  How did those traditions come to be?  Where did they start?

The Boss here at QCWeddings, Dave Smith, alerted us to one tradition that really started this post rolling.  He alerted us to the fact that the reason most weddings happen in June is because people long ago took their yearly baths in May, so by June they didn't smell too bad yet.  Since they were starting to smell a little bit, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the odor.  What a beautiful tradition!  

hawaiian-wedding-bouquet-1

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Here are some other wedding folklore tidbits that I found on ChicagoMarriage.com:  

When a Groom used to steal his Bride from her tribe, he was forced to carry her kicking and screaming. This act of thievery has evolved into a more romantic gesture,  welcoming the Bride into her new home.

Ancient Romans used to transfer to the Groom his authority over his Bride when her Father gave the Groom her shoes. In later years, guests threw their own shoes at the newlyweds to signify this transfer of authority. Today, this tradition is kept alive by simply tying old shoes to the back of the newlywed's vehicle before they leave their wedding reception celebration.

By believing that newlyweds brought good luck, guests used to shower them with nuts and grains to insure a bountiful harvest, and many children to work the land. During years of a poor harvest, rice was tossed instead. This tradition continues today with rice or birdseed (where permitted), or bubbles to wish the Bride and Groom much happiness. Incidentally, it is not true that birds eating rice thrown after a wedding ceremony will cause their stomachs to enlarge and eventually explode. This myth may have simply evolved from church and synagogue employees weary from cleaning up after every wedding ceremony!

According to some historians, the first recorded marriage rings date back to the days when early man tied plaited circlets around the Bride's wrists and ankles to keep her spirit from running away. Approximately 3,000 BC, Egyptians originated the phrase "without beginning, without end" in describing the significance of the wedding ring. These rings were made of woven hemp which constantly wore out and needed replacement. Although Romans originally used iron, gold is now used as a symbol of all that is pure. Diamonds were first used by Italians, who believed that it was created from the flames of love. In some European cultures, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand. In other cultures, an engagement ring is worn on the left hand, and the wedding ring is worn on the right hand.

The white wedding dress was made popular in the 1840's by Queen Victoria, who chose this instead of the traditional royal "silver" wedding dress. Prior to this, Brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day.

At some African-American wedding ceremonies, newlyweds "jump over a broom" to symbolize the beginning of a new life. The ritual was created during slavery, when African-Americans could not legally marry. Some people trace this wedding tradition to an African tribal marriage ritual of placing sticks on the ground representing the couple's new home. Today, the jumping of the broom is a symbol of sweeping away of the old, and welcoming the new.

During the German wedding ceremony, the Groom may kneel on the hem of the Bride's dress to symbolize his control over her. Not to be outdone, the Bride may step on the Groom's foot when she rises to symbolize her power over him!

What other tradition origins have you uncovered?  Let us know!  :)

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Jenny Bryde | Traditions

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About the Blog

Hi!  Welcome to the QCWeddings.com blog!  My name is Jenny, and I am a Quad Cities bride to be.  Our goal for this blog is to share information on all things wedding including local vendors, new trends, and amazing inspiration.  Let us know if there is something you'd like to see on here!  

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