bride

Fascinating Traditions in Canadian Weddings
Catching the bouquet is one of the oldest marriage traditions.

One of the most common wedding traditions practiced to this day is the catching of the bride’s bouquet.

The idea of getting married is nothing new. In fact, weddings are some of the oldest ceremonies to have been documented across all civilizations. There are a lot of traditions that have persisted through the years even if the mentality behind a wedding has changed. In Canada, for example, there are plenty of unique ways of going about the process of marrying your partner.

Common Wedding Traditions

Planning for a wedding requires time and research. Here are a few wedding practices that appear often in Canadian rituals in the current day and age, as well as in other cultures across the world.

Catch the Bouquet

One common tradition found in many weddings is the tossing of the bouquet. Traditionally, this is an act by the bride, who tosses the flowers backwards over her shoulder toward a crowd of single friends and relatives. It is customary for this part of the ceremony to only include women, but shifting attitudes have shown that single men can also get in on the fun if the married couple so wishes. The history behind this act is a bit more interesting than might be first believed.

In older cultures, it was common for single women to tear away a piece of the bride’s dress. This was meant as a gesture of good luck for the women holding the strip of garment. As wedding dresses became more expensive, brides found that it was a bit much to have their families and friends tearing away at their beautiful gowns. The bouquet toss was a custom introduced to ward away women who wanted a piece of luck and provide them with a competitive chance for their wishes.

Eternal Love

Some traditions are so ingrained in the cultural sphere that it’s hard to imagine another way of going about the process. Rings, for example, are the cornerstone of an engagement and subsequent wedding. There have been many different approaches to the exchanging of rings over the years. Essentially, experts have traced the tradition of the ring back to Egypt in its earliest days of civilization.

The Egyptians would trade rings as a sign of eternal love and commitment. Eventually, due to the conquests of the Greeks and Romans, the tradition was adopted. As civilization expanded through Europe, the custom became more widespread until it reached the height that it exists at now. The custom of wearing a wedding ring on a specific finger can also be traced back to the Egyptians. They believed that the third finger on the left hand was the one most closely connected to the human heart.

White Wedding

A common practice in the modern age is for a woman to wear white on her wedding day. This is actually not as old of a tradition as many might believe. In Western culture, the custom of wearing white began as a way of symbolizing the purity of the bride. This started during the Victorian Era in England and has persisted to the modern day in many countries. What’s more fascinating is that brides across the world wore a multitude of colors on their wedding day before this practice began.

White was a rare color to be seen during a ceremony in earlier traditions. It has lively and vibrant colors being more closely associated with the passion and beauty of shared love. Though it seems that most brides wear white in the current age, the trend is being pushed against. More women are wearing dresses that match their personal tastes rather than taking part in a tradition that holds no meaning for them.

As you plan your wedding, consider the meaning behind current customs. You may want to break from tradition or go with the flow – the choice is yours.

Wedding Traditions From Around The World
Certain wedding traditions have been practiced for hundreds of years.

There are all kinds of traditions that continue through the world. Many have similarities while others can be vastly different.

If you’re trying to plan a unique ceremony for your special day, check out some of these special wedding traditions from around the world.

 

 

 

Wedding Traditions from other Cultures

  • Congo – Brides and grooms aren’t allowed to smile on their wedding day. When they do, it shows that they aren’t serious about the marriage.
  • China – The bride travels to the groom’s home in a decorated sedan chair. Attendants take care of the bride on the journey by holding parasols to shield her from the elements. They throw rice at the chair as a sign of prosperity and health. Female bridesmaids put the groom through a series of tests for him to prove his worthiness of the bride. He must give them envelopes of money before they’ll allow him to have their friend.
  • Fiji – The potential bridegroom must present his father with a whale’s tooth when he asks for her hand in marriage.
  • Jamaica – The bride is paraded through the streets. If the villagers go home, it means she didn’t look her best. She must go home and spruce herself up for another go.

Some Other Cultures Practices

  • Guatemala – The groom’s parents host the reception party. The groom’s mother breaks a ceramic bell filled with grains to give the couple prosperity.
  • Germany – The guests break porcelain dishes in front of the new home. The bride and groom are to clean these dishes up together as a demonstration of working together to overcome anything.
  • Scotland – Gretna Green is the place to elope. In medieval times, Gretna Green would marry young couples who did not always have parental permission.
  • Kenya – The bride’s father spits on her as she leaves the reception. It’s thought to preempt fate by not seeming too supportive of the couple.
  • Greece – The best man (or groom’s best friend) shaves the groom before the wedding. The new mother-in-law feeds him honey and almonds.
  • Japan – A Shinto bride wears white from head to toe. The head covering is thought to hide the horns of jealousy toward her new mother-in-law. The white symbolizes her maidenhood.
  • Norway – The traditional cake is called kransekake. It’s a tower of almond cake rings stacked on top of each other. The center is often filled with a wine bottle. The bride may wear a gold and silver crown with small trinkets as part of her wedding finery. As she moves, the trinkets jingle, which scares off the evil spirits.
  • Russia – Couples partake of a sweetbread called karavaya which is decorated with grains of wheat for fertility. Whoever takes the largest bite without using their hands is thought to be the head of the family.

As you go through this list, you might notice that many of the wedding traditions are similar to customs we have here. It just shows that we’re more alike than we think.

Celebrating a Marriage in an Indian Tradition
Beautiful Indian bride hands

Beautiful Indian bride hands

Understanding the traditions from other cultures is important to building relationships with those outside of your own community. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed four Sikhs to his cabinet this November, he brought their culture to the forefront. Sikhs have been misunderstood for generations, not just here but around the world, including in their own country. Indian wedding traditions show an importance of family. Learn more about the heritage, in case you ever get invited to a wedding.

How Long Does the Ceremony Last?

An Indian wedding ceremony traditionally lasts three days. This does not mean that guests are expected to attend each part of the ceremony. Day one is typically for the bridal party and close relatives. The priest performs a ceremony known as the ganesh pooja. Day two is the mehndi ceremony, where the bride and female friends and relatives have henna patterns placed on their hands and feet. The bride is not expected to do any housework until the henna fades away. In the evening on day two, the wedding guests are invited to a sangeet, which is the introduction of families, a meal, and dancing or other performances.

On day three, the main ceremony takes place. In India, the groom might arrive on a decorated elephant or horse, but in today’s world, the groom would probably choose a luxury vehicle. Floral garlands are exchanged as part of the ceremony. In some parts of India, family members carry the bride and groom while they attempt to place these garlands on each other.

This main ceremony can take three hours. The bride’s parents give her to the groom, and the bride’s father requests that the groom accepts his daughter as an equal partner. The priest is there to lead the ceremony and ask for prayers, but traditionally he only facilitates the wedding. The groom ties a sacred thread around the bride’s neck, which is a symbol of his promise to take care of her. He places vermillion on her forehead, a symbol which welcomes her as his partner.

The bride and groom take seven steps with each other to confirm their eternal friendship. It is symbolic of the friendship they need for a relationship and that they will take part equally in the good and bad times of their marriage. The wedding may take place around a fire, which is representative of the fire god, Agni, one of the witnesses to the wedding. Circling the fire seven times is symbolic of the goals of the marriage, including prosperity, sensual gratification, and moral duties.

What to Wear and Bring

Indian wedding ceremonies are bright and colorful. The family often dresses very colorfully, in traditional saris and lenghas. Don’t be afraid to wear jewel-tones and your fancy jewelry. For women who wish to emulate their hosts, a shawl can mimic the look of a sari while complementing most dresses. Most invitations will specify no gifts at the wedding. Send gifts to the home of the bride or groom. There’s too much happening at the reception and ceremony for the family to be concerned about managing gifts.

The Reception

Following the third-day ceremony is a wild party with lots of food and dancing. Today, most receptions will include both traditional and contemporary music and dances. The bhangra is a folk dance from Punjab, and most people pick up the moves quickly.

Food at the reception varies based on the families’ preferences. Curries and naan, a flatbread, are common, as are samosas, which are a pastry filled with meats or vegetables. There may be a large dessert display including cake, ice cream, and other decorated sweets.

Indian weddings are all about the family and the joining of a couple for life. It’s a grand festival to bring not just two people together, but their families.