Wedding traditions and symbols

16th June, 2013 - Posted by Lia - No Comments

Jewish wedding tradtion

Something old, something new and something blue – what do these mean? We hear them and we think of weddings immediately, but do we really know the meanings and the origins behind such phrases. Let’s examine what wedding traditions and symbols signify, to decode the mystery behind marriage.

The classic expression “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue and a sixpence in her shoe” comes from Victorian England, and apart from the sixpence, seems to have stuck to our modern wedding days.

The something old refers to the bride’s past family life, and is represented by a family heirloom, like a piece of jewelry. Something new is the wish for happiness in the future, and this is often represented by the wedding dress. Something borrowed is to remind the bride not to forget her friends and family, so it can be something like a piece of jewelry or a handkerchief. Blue is the color of faithfulness and loyalty – this dates back to biblical time when the color represented purity. While the sixpence tradition seems to have gone out of fashion, it’s there to wish the bride wealth.

Muslim wedding

Another iconic wedding tradition is the veil, which is still used in many modern day ceremonies. This is there to hide the bride’s beauty and to ward off evil spirits, but another, less romantic explanation is that in the era of arranged marriages, the bride would cover her face until the groom had committed.

Confetti is a staple in wedding ceremonies, but traditionally this used to be rice or grains. This symbolized fertility, whereas the wedding bouquet is a fairly new tradition from America, that says who ever catches it will be the next one to get married.

chinese-wedding

Seeing the bride is supposed to be bad luck for the groom on his wedding day, until he meets her at the altar, and apparently it’s also bad luck for him to see the dress before the wedding. So perhaps it’s better not to peek!

The tradition of carrying the bride over the threshold is supposed to protect her from evil spirits that are lurking in the home.

groom-and-bride1

While many couples have opted to go modern for their wedding traditions, many of the above are still seen today in contemporary ceremonies. They’ve all become ingrained in our wedding culture, even if we don’t really stop to think about where and when these traditions came about.