We are always being told that the divorce rate is increasing and fewer people are getting married but marriage is still incredibly important in the West and amongst many other cultures around the world. We’re all pretty familiar with the idea of a wedding in any religion is about binding people together with a set of principles they commit to each other and we know that ceremonies can have their quirks according to country, race, religion or creed but, frankly, there are some incredibly weird wedding laws that are still practised.
Brides and Grooms of the Tidong ethnic group in Malaya are not allowed to go to the toilet for exactly 72 hours after they are married. They are confined to the house and watched over by relatives who provide them with scraps of food and very little water. If the happy couple manage to last the 72 hours without visiting the bathroom they will lead a long and happy life together. I guess there’s nothing like adversity building a strong bond. I wonder if there’s a rule to say who gets the bathroom first after the 72 hours is up?
In Truro, a small town in Massachusetts, a man has to prove his worth as a potentially good husband. It’s not about having a good job, or savings or doing volunteer work – he has to go hunting and kill either six blackbirds or three crows.
In Oblong it is against the law for a groom to make love whilst hunting or fishing on his wedding day. Just who would want to marry such a man anyway? Then again he may be that multi-tasking male we’ve been eternally searching for.
When a Swedish bride gets dressed she puts a gold coin from her mother in her right shoe and a silver coin from her father in her left shoe. It symbolises that she’ll never go without. As if wedding shoes aren’t uncomfortable enough already.
When a French bride and groom retire for the wedding night friends and family gather outside their room clanging pots and pans and making a complete cacophony of noise, known as Chiverie. The newlyweds have to come out in their bridal attire and provide their tormentors with refreshments. Could this be an old fashioned method of birth control?
In Scotland the pre-wedding tradition is to take the bride by surprise and cover her will all manner of foul substances like sauces, eggs, feathers, flour and anything sticky and horrid. After the bride has been blackened she is parade around the town.
Ever the practical, newlywed German couples have to work together to saw a log placed between two saw horses. It’s meant to demonstrate how in the future they work as a team. Maybe it’s just a cheap way for the hotel owner to get his cheap winter firewood.
It seems no matter where you go in the world, weird and wonderful customs can add to the experience of the big day and there were us girls thinking it was all about the dress and flowers. Some of these traditions may be national whilst others can simply relate to just one town. There’s bound to be plenty more that we never get to hear of. Maybe you have one to share?
Top Photo Credit: Ryan Brenizer
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