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What’s with the coins?
In Spain, Panama, and Mexico, grooms give their brides 13 gold coins as a sign of their wealth and ability to provide for their marriage. The priest will bless these coins during the ceremony and be handed back and forth between the bride and groom, ultimately ending in the hands of the bride. A new tradition involves the bride bringing her own coins to exchange, showing equality in the responsibility of the success of the marriage.
During a traditional Puerto Rican wedding ceremony, the priest will bless a plate of coins for the groom. After the wedding vows have been exchanged, the groom gives the plate of coins to the bride. The brides will keep these coins as a wedding present from her new husband. The gift of coins represent good luck and prosperity for the newlyweds.
1) According to German wedding tradition, when a baby girl is born in Germany, several trees are planted in honor of her birth. When her wedding date is set, the trees are sold, and the money is used for her dowry.
2) A unique German pre-wedding custom is the creation of a wedding newspaper by the friends and family of the bride and groom. This newspaper, or booklet, is filled with pictures, articles and stories of the engaged couple. The newspaper is sold at the wedding reception, to assist with the expenses of the honeymoon.
The Indian culture celebrates marriage as a sacrament (Sanskara), a rite enabling two individuals to start their journey in life together. In a Hindu wedding, the multiplicity of creation becomes possible when spirit (Purush) unites with matter (Prakritti). The Hindu wedding lays emphasis on three essential values: happiness, harmony, and growth.
The institution of marriage can be traced back to Vedic times. The ceremony should be held on a day in the “bright half” of the northern course of the sun. Months before the wedding an engagement ceremony known as Mangni is held. This is to bless the couple, who are then given gifts of jewelry and clothing by their new family.
Jaimala (Exchange of Garlands)
The couple exchanges garlands as a gesture of acceptance of one another and a pledge to respect one another as partners.
Madhupak (Offering of Yogurt and Honey)
The bride’s father offers the groom yogurt and honey as the expression of welcome and respect.
Kanyadan (Giving Away of the Bride)
The father of the bride places her hand in the groom’s hand requesting him to accept her as an equal partner. The concept behind Kanyadan is that the bride is a form of the goddess Lamxi and the groom is Lord Narayana. The parents are facilitating their union.
Havan (Lighting of the Sacred Fire)
The couple invokes Agni, the god of Fire, to witness their commitment to each other. Crushed sandalwood, herbs, sugar rice and oil are offered to the ceremonial fire.
Rajaham (Sacrifice to the Sacred Fire)
The bride places both her hands into the groom’s and her brother then places rice into her hands. Together the bride and groom offer the rice as a sacrifice into the fire.
Gath Bandhan (Tying of the Nuptial Knot)
The scarves placed around the bride and groom are tied together symbolizing their eternal bond. This signifies their pledge before God to love each other and remain faithful.
Mangalphera (Walk Around the Fire)
The couple makes four Mangalpheras around the fire in a clockwise direction representing four goals in life: Dharma, religious and moral duties; Artha, prosperity; Kama, earthly pleasures; Moksha, spiritual salvation and liberation. The bride leads the Pheras first, signifying her determination to stand first beside her husband in all happiness and sorrow.
Saptapardi (Seven Steps Together)
The bride and groom walk seven steps togehr to signify the beginning of their journey through life together. Each step represents a marital vow:
First step: To respect and honor each other
Second step: To share each other’s joy and sorrow
Third step: To trust and be loyal to each other
Fourth step: To cultivate appreciation for knowledge, values, sacrifice and service
Fifth step: To reconfirm their vow of purity, love family duties and spiritual growth
Sixth step: To follow principles of Dharma (righteousness) Seventh step: To nurture an eternal bond of friendship and love
Jalastnchana (Blessing of the Couple)
The parents of the bride and groom bless the wedded couple by dipping a rose in water and sprinking it over the couple.
Sindhoor (Red Powder)
The groom applies a small dot of vermilion, a powdered red lead, to the bride’s forehead and welcomes her as his partner for life. It is applied for the first time to a woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it.
Aashirvad (Parental Blessing)
The parents of the bride and groom give their blessings to the couple. The couple touches the feet of their parents as a sign of respect.
Menhdi (Henna Ceremony)
The traditional art of adorning the hands and feet with a paste made from the finely ground leaves of the Henna plant. The term refers to the material, the design, and the ceremony. It is tradition for the names of the bride and groom to be hidden in the design, and the wedding night is not to commence until the groom has found both names. After the wedding, the bride is not expected to perform any housework until her Menhdi has faded away.
Mangalasutra (Thread of Goodwill)
A necklace worn specifically by married women as a symbol of their marriage.
More details can be found here.
Never-ceasing and still growing number of emails with questions on German wedding traditions prompted this article’s uprise. Indeed, Germans respect and love their traditions and maintain them through time and distances. Foreigners travel to Germany and marry there, Germans living abroad wish to get married in accordance with their native rituals, so it is high time to get brides and grooms acquainted with what they will have to do on their German-like Hochzeit (wedWedding traditions in Germany differ from region to region. Here are some of the highlights:
Car Procession – after the wedding a car procession is formed and drives through town honking their horns – others honk back wishing the couple good luck.
Costs – the father of the bride has to pay the wedding. This is an old custom but today normally both parents and the couple itself divide the costs for the wedding.
Dance – the first dance is danced by the bride and the groom, it is traditionally a waltz. The next dance is only for bride with her father and groom with mother, while bride’s mother dances with groom’s father.
First Night – to make the first night as difficult as possible, friends of the couple do lots of funny or sometimes cruel things. They fill up the rooms with balloons, hide lots of alarm clocks in the bedroom, take apart the bed, and so on.
Flowers – besides the flowers for the bride and in church, the hood of the wedding car is decorated with lots of flowers.
Junggesellenabschied – a few days before the wedding the groom and his male friends go to a pub or sometimes other places to drink and have fun. (the last time?)
Kidnapping of the bride – in some areas (mostly in small villages) friends kidnap the bride and the groom has to find her. Normally, he has to search in a lot of pubs and invite all people in there (or pay the whole bill). Sometimes this ritual ends badly.
Polterabend – this is an informal (informal dress and food) party at the evening before the wedding where plates and dishes are smashed (the broken pieces are thought to bring good luck to the bride). The bride and groom have to clean up everything.
Rice – after the wedding when the bride leaves the church, friends throw rice on them and it is said that they will get as many children as rice grains stay in the hair of the bride.
Veil Dance – this is a popular game for a wedding evening. Every woman or man who wants to dance with the groom or bride, has to pay for it.
Wedding Cake – the wedding cake, mostly a large cake with lots of ornaments, has to be cut by the bride and the groom together.
Wedding Evening – at the wedding evening a lot of games are played, speeches are held (the first normally from the father of the bride), sometimes a wedding newspaper is handed out. Songs are sung, and so on.
White Ribbon – the bride carries lengths of white ribbon with her bouquet, and after the church ceremony is over and the guests are leaving the church, she hands each driver a ribbon that they tie to the radio antenna.
Wedding Rings – Germans wear wedding rings on the right hand – the groom and the bride have normally identical rings (wedding “bands” — no diamonds).
Wedding Shoes – another tradition is to collect pennies for years and buy wedding shoes for the bride with this money.
The Jewish Ketubah
Traditional Hebrew wedding ceremonies begin with the bride and groom signing a marriage contract, called the Ketubah. The agreement, which once assured the bride’s legal status, states the expectations and duties of the couple once they are married. This beautiful, ornate document will be framed and displayed in the couples’ home.
After the couple have signed the Ketubah, the groom lowers his bride’s wedding veil after studying her face. This wedding custom recalls the biblical story of Jacob, who married the wrong woman when she covered her face with a veil.
In the Jewish tradition, the wedding ring should be simple, a band with no details, no stones, and nothing engraved, with nothing to distinguish the beginning from the end. The rabbi, groom, groomsmen, and Jewish male guests traditionally wear a white-colored cap called a yamulkes.
The Traditional Jewish Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony begins with a procession of the wedding party members. At the wedding site, both sets of parents escort the bride and groom down the aisle. The marriage ceremony is performed under a special canopy, called a huppah, which represents God’s presence, shelter and protection.
After exchanging wedding vows, seven marriage blessings are read. The groom then steps on a wine glass, to symbolize the fragility of human happiness, a hallmark of Jewish history. It is also traditional for the bride and groom to be alone together for a few moments immediately after the ceremony. This tradition, called yichud, originated so that the marriage could be consummated, but now it is observed as a lovely time to be together before the reception. There is rarely, therefore, a receiving line at a Jewish wedding.
Favorite Jewish Wedding Dances
Wedding receptions are joyous celebrations, with much singing and many traditional dances. A lively Israeli dance called the Hora is performed at the wedding reception. While they hold on to either end of a handkerchief, bride and groom are lifted into the air on chairs by their joyful guests, as they are celebrated as ‘king and queen of the night’.
A lovely Jewish custom called the “Krenzl” — which means ‘crowning’ honors the bride’s mother when her last daughter is wed. The mother is seated in the center of the room and is crowned with a wreath of flowers, then all her daughters dance around her to a very lively Yiddish song. The Mizinke is a dance of celebration reserved for both parents who have just seen their last son or daughter married. The guests encircle the mother and father, while bestowing them with wedding flowers and kisses.
Another traditional dance is called “gladdening of the bride.” All of the guests at the reception circle the bride while they dance and sing praises about her.
A Jewish wedding would not be complete without a sumptuous meal to satisfy the entire wedding party and guests.