Our world is already filled with a wide spectrum of traditions with many different tastes and colors when it comes to weddings. Yet in spite of the wide diversity of wedding traditions, the reasons why couples get married and their hopes for their married life remains true and transcendent to all the cultures around the world.
Reasons give birth to culture and in time, cultures bring forth traditions which are handed down from generations to generations. Behind every glitz and glamour of every wedding tradition is the innate reason and hope which does not only happen at the wedding day but throughout the couple's existence or even beyond.
So let us take a look at the mothers of our world's wedding traditions.
1. Man plus woman equals One-The Oneness of husband and wife
I remembered my second grade math teacher telling me that marriage is such an arithmetic lawbreaker because it would say 1 + 1 = 1. It's that innate desire for oneness that moves us to love and be united. That is why every wedding has always one tradition that symbolizes the oneness of the bride and groom.
In the Mexican culture for example, the couple is draped with a white ribbon or a rosary they call "lasso" to symbolize their union.
In the Philippines, the bride's veil is pinned to the groom's shoulder to symbolize them as being clothed as one, followed by lighting three candles which represents the light of the groom, the bride and their unity as husband and wife.
And we should never forget the "kiss" which is done most of the time at the end of the wedding ceremony. The most romantic smooch of all time in the lives of the bride and groom actually symbolizes them being one in speech.
2. Has been, is always, and forever-- Eternal Love
Ah the sweet love. Who wouldn't want to make it last forever? Nevertheless, who wouldn't want to make it eternal as it truly is? Before the "till death do us part" vow and wedding contract expiry upon death or divorce or annulment is the desire and hope of an eternal union that transcends a lifetime.
We all know today that the wedding ring symbolizes engagement and oneness but the ring itself symbolizes a love that is eternal-having no beginning and no end.
In England, it is a customary tradition to give gifts that are old and new to symbolize continuity and hope for the future, respectively. While in the Oceanic traditions, the 'never-ending' love is symbolized by the wearing of 'infinity loops' around the necks of the bride and groom.
3. Bridging the families-The wedding and community
Way back then and even up to this day, marriage is not really just an exclusive event made only for the bride and groom. It involves the direct relatives of the bride and groom. Today, a marriage between two individuals can also mean the marriage of two families, or companies or even nations.
African weddings always give importance to the value of family. Not only is the groom united with his wife but the groom's family-- or even tribe-is united to the bride's.
Wedding guests and witnesses always dazzle every wedding ceremony with them adding to its splendor in communion along with the bride and groom. In Indonesia for example, it is customary for the bride and groom to greet every guest-even if they reach a thousand, and that's before the reception kicks off!
4. We love for them to have babies!-Traditions for fertility
Yes we love the babies! Parents of the groom or the bride and their friends and relatives look forward for their bridegroom's life as a family. That is why in several parts of the world, there are some traditions and practices that symbolizes for the newlywed's fertility for their coming years.
Some of these traditions are the East Europe's laying an infant on the couple's wedding bed, North America's tossing of rice at the couple and Scandinavia's planting of a pine tree on either of the bride or groom's front door.
5. In riches and in... never mind-- Financial security
One of the many hopes and aspirations of a married couple is their financial security throughout their married life. And that is the life of abundance and abundance alone.
The signing of the marriage contract is still a big deal even up to today. It is even bigger in the Middle East where the bride and groom sign the contract in the court house followed by much celebration with the bride changing her dress as often as five times in the party!
The security of the bride's family about the groom's capability to give financial security for his bride is also done in some practices in many traditions. In the Western European culture, the groom is to give a gold ring to the bride while in Central America and other parts of the world, the groom is to present thirteen gold coins to symbolize his commitment to support his bride. In the Pacific, the groom would have to give the bride a whale's tooth to establish a wealthy status.
6. In the name of fortune-Just for good luck
Along with the wide variety of cultures come another variety of beliefs of luck and fortune. Let's face it. There are things we do not know yet. And those uncertainties create in us fears of what were once called jinx. Some of these practices are rarely absent in wedding ceremonies especially in Asia.
In Korea it is customary to have a fortune teller to look up the couple's future before the wedding ceremony. In traditional China, fireworks are lit to drive away evil spirits while in Middle Eastern traditions have their own version in driving those evil spirits away by means of tattoos.
The Western culture also has its share of anti-jinx practices like the groom carrying the bride as they enter the threshold of their home to avoid being plagued with bad luck during their marriage.
7. It's not just the party we want-- Joy and happiness
Who wouldn't want parties after the end of the wedding ceremony? Post-nuptial parties of different cultures vary in many ways but they really are all the same. They are after all PARTIES. But what it really symbolizes it the hope for a happy and joyous married life for the bride and groom.
Now there you have it. I hope it makes you want to get married because you know the reasons why. Whatever culture you are in or practice you do in your married life, it's always important to know and remember the true origin of wedding traditions-and that is the desire to understand the one love through the union.