There are a handful of traditions, superstitions and customs that go with weddings. You probably know a lot of them, but do you know how they started? A lot of these traditions have been passed down through the ages and have survived because they promise fortune and future happiness. There's nothing wrong with a bit of that!
DID YOU KNOW?
- The word 'wedding' actually comes from the gothic word 'wadi' and the Scottish word 'wad' which means 'to pledge'
- The phrase 'to tie the knot' comes from Roman times. In this age, a bride's mother would tie up her daughters undergarments in a very difficult knot. This was to provide a challenge to the groom on the wedding night.
- To this day many brides wear white. This started in the 16th century and is a symbol of purity. Queen Victoria decided against the royal tradition for Royal brides to wear silver. Instead she chose to wear a white gown for its symbolism.
- The promise of marriage is represented by an engagement ring before the wedding day. The ring is meant to represent never ending love. Gold symbolises the strength and purity of the love. The ring is worn on the third finger on the left hand as the Romans believed that the vein on this finger runs directly to the heart.
- In the past evil spirits were thought to prey on brides, and as such most wedding customs began as a means to protect these voulnerable women. For example, wearing a veil was thought to disguise the bride from evil spirits. During the 1800's in Britain however, the veil came to symbolize modesty and chastity.
- Jokes and pranks on the newlywed couple is another example of a tradition that began with the intention of warding off evil spirits. Friends of the couple would play pranks on them in the hope that the spirits would take pity on the couple for already being tormented enough, and leave them alone.
- Tying tin cans to the back of the newlywed's vehicle were intended to make such a loud noise that it would scare away evil spirits.
- The tradition of having members of the wedding party dress alike was started with the hopes that this would cause confusion for the spirits, and so they would leave the bride alone.
- Throwing rice at a couple represents fertility. Some cultures will throw small pieces of crumbled cake with the same meaning. Nowadays, confetti or rose petals are thrown in place of rice due to a number of practical and environmental reasons.
- A newlywed couple symbolise their unity, shared future and lives together by cutting the wedding cake together. The traditional fruit cake originated in Britain, with the fruit and nuts being a symbol of fertility.
- Victorian times saw the origins of the phrase, "Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue". Traditionally, the "old" would have been the garter of a happily married woman, with the thought being that her good fortune would be passed down along with it. The "new" stood for the couple's new bright and happy future together. "Something borrowed" was usually an item from the bride's family. It symbolized prosperity within the new union, but would bring that good fortune if it was returned to the family. "Something blue" came from an ancient tradition in which the bride would wear a blue ribbon in her hair as a symbol for fidelity.