National Wedding Beliefs
Wedding beliefs are very diverse and depend on culture, religion, climate
and other aspects.Some of beliefs can be interpreted through the prism of
common sense. For instance, for many cultures using Julian calendar, wedding
in May forecasts unhappiness of this marriage. This can be associated with
the fact that beliefs appeared long ago predominantly in peasant environment,
so it is reasonable that May is considered inappropriate - it is the height of
the field work. All weddings have been traditionally celebrated in autumn,
so such "overrunning of schedule" may be justified only in case of unplanned
pregnancy of the bride, which in all cultures have been considered a shame
for a family. Moreover, such wedding was the result of social pressure, and
not always the free will of the couple. Certainly, much water has flowed
since then and the morality, social environment and views of the youth
have changed essentially, but many of the rituals are still followed just
to ensure their keeping and to emphasize one's identity with the nation.
Key Russian wedding beliefs claim that:
- Nuptial bed cannot be offered to anyone, because either wife or husband will betray.
- Nobody should cross the way to the newlyweds on the wedding day, because this makes
the couple an easy target for the evil.
- A bad omen is to slip the ring during the wedding ceremony.
- Marital intercourse should necessarily take place in the wedding night -
otherwise, the couple will separate.
- The rain is considered to be a good sign for a couple as it symbolizes
- After the bride has been taken to the wedding ceremony, her parents
washed the floor (omitting the threshold) in their house; this was
accomplished in order to prevent the bride's return (meaning as a
result of separation or widowhood).
- Looking in the same mirror will ensure luck for the new family. At the
same time, the bride should not allow her female friends stand in front
of her before the mirror as they can lead her husband away.
- A bride should not see herself in her complete wedding attire - this
means failure. This unhappiness can be avoided if the bride wears almost
everything, but without some accessory (for instance, without a glove).
- Beloved should not present each other with photos before wedding -
this may lead to separation.
European wedding customs, traditions and beliefs differ from country
to country and thus underline the national differences and ethnic identity:
- Austrian brides decorate their veil with myrtle, which is regarded
as the flower of life;
- In English villages the bride and her guests come to church on foot;
a little girl heads the procession - she scatters the flowers, and this
means that the life of the bride will be happy and full of flowers.
A small talisman (for instance, silver horseshoe) is pinned to the
bride's gown for happiness.
- In Bulgaria the bride and the groom are showered with fig fruits
instead of rice.
- Spanish wedding should necessarily include orange color, as it
symbolizes the orange tree, which is the evergreen, and thus the
bride will always be young and blooming. The groom presents his
bride with thirty coins, thus emphasizing that he can support her.
- In Germany, the guests are presented with handkerchiefs, in which
they can wrap the remains of the festive food.
- In Poland the guests twine the wreath of rosemary and put it on
the bride's head.
- Portuguese wedding tradition provides that guests who want to dance
with the bride should put a coin into her shoe, which is brought to
- Special wedding traditions remained in Slovakia: the groom presents
the bride with rosary, prayer book, chastity belt with three keys as
the symbol of her chastity keeping, fur cap and silver wedding ring.
The bride presents the groom with many-colored shirt, embroidered with
gilt threads and a ring.
- French newlyweds drink out of the big cup with two handles, which is
called "a coupe de marriage" in French.
- Croatian wedding ceremony ends with the custom of bride's unveiling
and covering her head with headscarf as a mark of her married status.
Then all guests and the couple walk round the well (symbol of Holy
Trinity) three times and throw apples (symbol of richness) into it.
- During the Czech wedding, the friends hide in the bride's garden
and plant a tree there. Then it is decorate with ribbons and colored
eggs. This means that the bride will live as long as the tree will
grow. The bride is crowned with the wreath of roses, which
symbolizes memory. This wreath is twined by the bride's female
friends and is handed to her with wishes of love, fidelity, and wisdom.
Of course, traditions nowadays are followed mainly because they are beautiful
and special, and they add spectacular impression. Also, some especially
superstitious people persuade themselves about their future happy life
in such way. The initial meaning of many traditions has been lost.
Nevertheless, they remain a great opportunity to make impression and
remind of our national differences which seem to sink in modern urbanistic
ocean of similar strivings.
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