Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Get me to the church on time....

This is my best friend's little sister. She was married this past weekend ending the second of five weddings I have in the next seven weekends.

It is that time of year and I am at that age where many of the people I know are getting married so invitations are coming in every other week or so. Some I plan to attend, others I do not. It is always fun to go to weddings for me though to see what different traditions and such are used.

Since G-man, T.C. and Lime are usually very good at educating on topics, I thought I would give it a try by mentioning some wedding traditions from about the world:


Jumping the Broom:
Jumping the broom developed out West African Asante custom. The broom in Asante and other Akan cultures also held spiritual value and symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or warding off evil spirits. Brooms were waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. The couple would often but not always jump over the broom at the end of the ceremony.
(Years later when showing their children their wedding pictures "See here honey, this is Daddy with his black eye that your Uncle Tonatsu gave him when waving the broom")

Malay Wedding

Akad Nikah:
Marriage is a contract, and the akad nikah effectively forges the union. The solemnization is normally presided by a kadhi, a religious official of the Syariat (Shariat) Court. In olden days, it was customary for the bride's biological father to perform this function. The akad nikah ceremony is in effect a verbal contract between the bride's father or his representative (in this case the kadhi) and the groom. A small sum of money called the mas kahwin (in Singapore, it is S$22.50 as of 1998) seals the contract. The dialogue is as follows, and must be articulated clearly as to be heard by three witnesses:

Kadhi: I marry thee to (so-and-so) with the mas kahwin of S$22.50

Groom: I accept this marriage with (so-and-so) with the mas kahwin of S$22.50

The simplicity of this ritual belies the tremendous responsibilities of the groom to care for his bride, and this is reinforced in a brief lecture on marriage and its responsibilities delivered later by the kadhi. The groom is also reminded that, should he fail to provide both spiritual and physical sustenance for his wife, the marriage may be dissolved if a complaint is made to the Syariat Court.

(If it were only that cheap here! It would be more like "Kadhi: I marry thee to (so-and-so) with the mas kahwin of $22,500 plus taxes and shipping and handling)

From Germany, during the ceremony, when the couple kneel, the groom may kneel on the bride's hem to show that he'll keep her in line. Then, the bride may step on his foot as she rises to reassert herself. (Ok this would just call for some kind of mishap, In the News today "Marrying couple tumbles to broken limbs due to hem and foot stepping")

Now some wedding superstitions:

Wedding Day:
Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday's the best of all.
Thursday brings crosses,
And Friday losses,
But Saturday - no luck at all.
(This thought pattern has definitel changed)

Tears from the bride or a child during the wedding service is considered lucky.

The wedding veil hides the brides beauty and wards off evil spirits. Another explanation is that during the times of arranged marriages the brides face would be covered until the groom had commited to the marriage. (Is this why we have Bridezillas? Because so many don't wear the veils to cover their face anymore? ;) )

The throwing of the wedding bouquet was introduced from America and it is said that who ever catches the bouquet will be next to be married. (This is so not true! I would have been married at eleven!)

Confetti has replaced rice or grain in modern times, the rice was thrown at the bride and groom to encourage fertility. (Yeah we finally figured out that it may be a sign of fertility in us but it was killing the birds!)

The bride stands on the left of the groom during the marriage ceremony to allow his sword arm to be free ready to fight off other men who may want her as their bride. (Oh yeah...this is a must at my wedding! Back off boys, she is mine! HA HA!)

Carrying the bride over the threshold protects her from any evil spirits that may be lurking in the new home. (Like the iron and ironing board, that is an evil spirit for sure! Oh...What happens if you fall? Just asking.....)

In ancient times, it was believed there was a vein in the third finger of the left hand that ran directly to the heart. Thus, the ring being placed on that finger, denoted the strong connection of a heartfelt love and commitment to one another. Although during times of modern autopsy, this long held belief was found not to be so, the tradition continued to this day. (leave it to modern autopsy to ruin the thought behind a tradition...sheesh lol)

And that is all the time we have folks...hope you enjoyed!


Anonymous said...

do not repeat DO NOT let your groom forget to carry you over the threashold---ironing is the pits
love ya lots

Dorky Dad said...

Traditions drive me crazy. Some of them are good. Others just make me wonder what people were smoking when they came up with those ideas. I'm probably the anti-Heloise that way.

gymrat280 said...

I shoulda never gotten married on Saturday. Both times. Maybe I shoulda stepped on the hem. I did keep my sword arm free, though. :)

-- Jeff

A said...

I dunno, getting married on a Saturday has worked every time for me!

Seriously, though, I've heard that in Biblical times the bride is there waiting and the groom comes for her. I'm not sure I heard this from a reputable source or anything, but I love the concept, and I wonder how it got turned around if it's true? I spose it would take away from the dramatic look-at-me-I'm-the-knock-out- vavavavoom!-bride effect. Gotta have that you know!

Great post BTW, tis the wedding season!