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Mass weddings are very popular in the Philippines, especially on Valentine’s Day. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of couples tie the knot in unison, and the event is sponsored by the government as a form of public service.
In Italian wedding, food is the main focus – more so than the party sometimes. Some guests eat through as many as 14 courses, including anti pasti, pasta dishes, veal and more.
Regardless of religion, a lot of Japanese couples include a traditional sake-sharing ceremony (which is usually for Shinto weddings). This dates back to a time when sharing a sake created a formal bond. Using three sake cups, the couple takes three sips each from the cups, then their parents do the same, cementing the bond between families.
WEDDING TRADITIONS EXPLAINED
Once they exit the church, newlyweds are asked to saw a log together to showcase their ability to work as a team. The night before the wedding, it’s customary to have a Polterabend, where family and friends smash dinner plates to wish the couple good luck.
While most brides and groom have a wide smile on their faces on their wedding day, it’s considered disrespectful to smile at Congolese weddings, as it means you’re not serious about the wedding.
Traditionally, grooms would gift wild geese or ducks to their future mother-in-laws as a sign of loyalty and the pureness of their hearts. Nowadays, it’s more customary (and practical!) to gift wooden poultry instead.
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In small villages in France, it’s customary of the groom to greet his bride at her family home, before they both make their way in a procession with their guests to the town hall and church. The groom will walk his mother down the aisle before the bride arrives with her another. The happy couple will also raise a toast during the reception – the expression comes from an old tradition where a piece of toast would be dropped in the couple’s wine to signify good luck.
In certain small towns in Scotland, they still practice what is called “the blackening of the bride”, where the bride is covered in tar, feathers and sometimes even curdled milk and bad eggs. The belief is that if she can withstand that, her marriage will be strong.
Not one for the faint hearted! In China’s Yugar culture, grooms shoot their bride three times with a bow and arrow – without the arrowheads for safety! They then break the arrows, symbolising everlasting love.
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If the groom leaves the room, the other male guests are allowed to kiss the bride, and the same goes for the groom if the bride leaves him unattended – though this time the female guests will do the honours.
Most weddings in the US start later in the day and last for the evening only. However, it’s customary to have a rehearsal dinner the night before, so everyone can meet and celebrate together.
Some traditional Indian ceremonies involve the bride’s sisters stealing the groom’s shoes when he enters the wedding tent! He then has to bribe them to get them back.
The father of the bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest when she exits the village with her new husband. It may sound rude, but really it’s to wish the couple good luck.
VALENTINE’S DAY TRADITIONS FORM AROUND THE WORLD
In Poland, the money dance involves guests paying to dance with the bride at the reception, which then goes towards the honeymoon.
In Guatemala, it’s not unusual for the mother of the groom to break a white bell filled with rice and flour to welcome newlyweds and wish them luck and prosperity.
In certain European countries like Romania, the bride is ‘abducted’ by friends or family the night before the wedding. The groom then has to rescue her, paying her ransom through romantic gestures, money or drinks.
Brides have not one, but two bouquets, with the second being a tribute to the Virgin Mary.
A baby is placed on the couple’s bed before the ceremony to wish them luck in their fertility. Once they’re married, they are then showered with rice, peas and lentils.