Wedding Traditions and Superstitions

July 29, 2014
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We’re at the height of wedding season so we got to thinking about wedding traditions and superstitions such as, the bride wearing white and the “somethings” (old, new, borrowed, blue).

Here’s a list of the most common wedding traditions and superstitions and how they originated.

TRADITIONS

Wedding Boquet with RingsThe Bride wearing white:  On February 10, 1840, Queen Victoria married her cousin Albert in an off-white, silk-satin gown.  Usually a bride would choose her best dress – of any color – to get married but after this occasion, white began to symbolize cleanliness and luxury, as it would be difficult to keep clean and impractical to wear outside of an occasion like a wedding.

Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue:  We found wearing something old represents the brides past.  The something new symbolizes optimism toward the couple’s future.  The something borrowed is supposed to come from a happily married person in the hope that some of that person’s good fortune rubs off on her.  And the something blue denotes purity, love and fidelity.

Wearing a veil has nothing to do with purity (like I thought it did).  The custom originated in Rome, when a bride would wear a veil down the aisle to disguise herself from evil spirits who were jealous of her happiness.

The tradition of the Father giving the Bride away comes from the olden days when women were considered property.  The patriarch of the family literally gave his daughter away in exchange for a dowry (money).  Now, it’s about the father giving his blessing by presenting the daughter to the groom at the alter.

The bride stands to the groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.

One wears the wedding band on the fourth finger on the left hand because it was once thought that the vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

Cutting the cake:  Weddings have always customarily been celebrated with a special cake.  Ancient Roman wedding ceremonies were finalized by breaking a cake of wheat or barley over the bride’s head as a symbol of good fortune.  The newly married couple then ate a few crumbs in a custom known as confarreatio (eating together).  Afterwards, the wedding guests gathered up the crumbs as tokens of good luck.

SUPERSTITIONS

bride over thresholdThe seeing each other before the wedding superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding.

The tradition of breaking glass at a wedding says that however many pieces the glassware breaks into will symbolize how many years a couple will be happily married.

Carrying the Bride over the threshold may be thought as a tradition today but it began as a superstition in Medieval Europe.  Many believed that a bride was extra vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet. To avoid bringing in any evil spirits, the groom carried the bride into their new home.

Rain on your wedding day is considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!  It symbolizes fertility and cleansing.

What traditions did you or do you want to follow on your wedding day?  Do you know of other superstitions not mentioned?

-S.O.