Jan 282008
Authors: Bijah Gibson

Weddings have been an integral part of many cultures since the beginning of recorded history.

Every culture, ranging from the most primitive to the most advanced and historically rich, has some form of wedding ceremony for uniting two people in marriage.

In Morocco, wedding celebrations can last anywhere from four days to an entire week. Prior to her wedding, a Moroccan bride-to-be will soak herself in a bath of milk as a means of purification.

Following the bath, henna tattoos known as Baberiska will be painted on the bride. As is the case in many weddings, the bride will wear an elaborate dress, jewelry and veil. Once the ceremony is complete, the new bride will walk around her new home three times before entering.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Venezuela, one will find a very different wedding that places much emphasis on traditions bringing good luck to the newlyweds.

Prior to a Venezuelan wedding, the groom-to-be will ask the father of the bride for permission to marry. Once permission is granted, a civil ceremony will take place, followed by a second, religious ceremony two weeks later.

At the ceremony, family members and often times the bride and groom exchange thirteen gold coins, called arras, to symbolize prosperity and good fortune. Rather than leaving their reception with fanfare, the couple will sneak away. This is also thought to bring them good luck.

In Scotland, the wedding celebration shows many similarities to weddings in the United States. Many traditions invoked in Scottish matrimonial ceremonies date back to the 1200’s A.D. Nowadays, the bride’s mother will host a “show of presents” one week in advance of the wedding. This is very similar to the bridal shower hosted for many brides in the United States.

The groom’s friends will also host a party for him, known as a stag party. At the stag party, the groom and his friends will get very drunk and the groom’s friends will often leave him naked and tied up outside his home.

At the ceremony, the bride wears white and the groom wears traditional Scottish garb including a kilt. The song “Highland Wedding” is played and vows may be exchanged in Ancient Gaelic. To top it all off, the groom must carry the bride across the threshold of their new home.

In Iran, wedding customs date back to the times of the Persian Empire. The groom buys the dress for his bride.

During the ceremony, it is customary for a happily married woman to hold a shawl over the heads of the couple. Following the exchange of vows, crumbs of sugar from decorated cones are sprinkled over the heads of the newlyweds for good luck.

New Zealand weddings incorporate the customs of both the western world and the native peoples of the island.

As with many American weddings, it is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. At the wedding, the groom and his groomsmen wear black and the bride and her bridesmaids wear white.

Customs of the Maori people, the native tribe of New Zealand, are also a part of many weddings on New Zealand. A priest will often give a blessing in the Maori language, a warrior challenge may take place, and infinity loops representing never-ending love are placed around the necks of the bride and groom.

These are just a few of the many thousands of weddings that can found around the world. Today, many brides plan their weddings in ways that will include elements of their cultural heritage.

Just as each country has its own unique traditions when it comes to the uniting of two people in marriage, each individual wedding will have its own unique aspects, family customs and symbols of the couple’s love for one another.

In closing, here just a few ways that a newly married and in love couple may say, “I love you” around the globe: Te quiero (Spain), L’amo (Italy), Au lomani iko vakalevu (Fiji), and Jet’aime (France).

For more information about global wedding traditions, visit www.worldweddingtraditions.com.

Staff writer Bijah Gibson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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