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Wedding ceremony traditions

April 20, 2010

Here’s a few more customs for weddings and their historical origins.

Shoes  –  At modern weddings, we tie shoes to the car of the bridal couple as a sign of good luck, and to ensure fertility. But the custom originated from throwing shoes at anyone who started on a trip, as shoes were precious objects whose souls were thought to contain the life experiences, and good luck, of the one throwing them. 

Shoes and slippers also served as a sign of power. By throwing shoes after a bride, parents also indicated, before witnesses,  they were handing control of their daughter over to the husband, her new legal master. 

In some countries, unmarried women threw the shoes- shoes being a symbol of serfdom-  to show they were sorry for the bride, yet happy for themselves for so far escaping that same fate.

Confetti – the word comes from Italian – referring to confectionary or sweet meats 

This began with showering the bridal couple with grain and then it became custom to throw nuts and sugared almonds. It was believed that the seeds would guarantee a fruitful union.

Paper confetti began to be used as an inexpensive substitute for rice, wheat or nuts. Now, in our green society, churches often forbid the use of paper littering their grounds and are encouraging a return to rice instead.  

Ironic that we’ve gone full circle, and also ironic that in our contraceptive aware society we keep up a custom that provokes fertility.

Cake – In Roman times, the bride and groom of upper classes shared a part of a cake- an unleavened scone dough- believed to give them a life of plenty. The cake was broken over the bride’s heads and guests scrambled for pieces so they would also be blessed with happiness and children.

Anglo- Saxons began bringing their own spiced buns to a wedding and these were piled for the bride and groom to try to kiss across. If they managed this, it was considered a good omen. Stories say that a French chef, around the time of King Charles II, decided to ice the buns in one large mound as a more practical way of piling the offerings. This led to the tradition of decorating a multi-tiered wedding cake for guests to share.

I’m loving learning all these ‘ Weird and Wacky Ways’  we started our present day wedding customs.

Aren’t you? Leave me a comment on your own traditional customs from where you live, as I’d love to hear from you,

Suzi 

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