World Through The Lens




WEDDING TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS
(A Traditional Wedding)

By JANET WOOD

SHORT EXTRACT from a 32 page (A4), 8,500 word, colour illustrated EBOOK:

Marriage has always been a time to rejoice and celebrate the union of two people and through the ages traditions and superstitions have been passed on from generation to generation. Some may have altered a little with the passing of time, but overall, itís surprising just how many have survived intact.

For example accessories havenít particularly changed. The brideís garter, very popular today, used to be an essential part of the proceedings many centuries before. This is because during the ceremony it was invariably snatched by one of the young men attending the celebration as it was supposed to bring good luck concerning matters of the heart.

Again, the bride has carried flowers for many centuries, but originally they were posies of herbs because their scent were thought to ward off evil spirits.

Before the reformation, the church only allowed marriages to take place at certain times of the year in order to avoid main festivals. The time of the wedding was also considered to be crucial. Most civil marriages took place during the day, usually before noon until the 1880ís. As far as months of the year go, the poem below tells which it was best to avoid.

Marry in May and youíll rue the day
Marry when the year is new, always loving, always true
Marry in Lent and youíll repent
Marry in June, roses grow and overland and seas youíll go

The giving of a ring is also an age-old tradition and is supposed to indicate the eternity of a union. The different precious and semi-precious stones in the engagement ring have for centuries, symbolised treasured qualities. For example the diamond denotes faith, success and affection.

One surprising thing that my research threw up, is that regarding the Ďtraditional colourí of the wedding gown - there isnít one! So although, white may be thought of as the traditional dress colour, brides of the past seem to have had much more choice. For example, medieval brides tended to wear bright colours. Red was particularly popular in Tudor times.

Marriage is usually solemnised by a public demonstration, usually a religious ceremony or, as in the case of primitive societies, magic ritual. But most have common elements such as; reputedly lucky and unlucky times to wed, special clothing, lucky charms, music and dancing. Like today, most celebrations ended with a triumphal procession and feast during which the couple are toasted and presented with gifts. Surpisingly, ancient Egyptians were doing much the same over five thousand years ago!

A full length ebook version of this article is available here.

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