Weddings are special in every country and community. It is perhaps the one joyous occasion in life, that the entire world deems worthy of celebration. Hence, there are traditional rituals associated with this occasion, that have been followed for ages, and continue to this day. Let us look at some wedding customs from various countries of the world, and understand how each culture solemnizes the union of man and woman.
China is a huge country with many ethnic groups. So, the wedding customs vary greatly from one region to another. The traditional style of matchmaking had matchmakers who took the proposal from the groom to the girl’s family. The wedding was fixed only after a fortune teller predicted whether the couple would have a happy life together. Traditional wedding attires of both bride and groom were in red. The bride and her party were expected to cry for days leading up to the wedding, as this symbolized her grief of leaving her home. After the wedding rituals, the guests were treated to a feast, that often had six or nine courses.
Indian weddings involve several rituals and take days to complete. The traditional bridal attire includes heavy jewelry, elaborate hairstyles with flowers and beautiful dresses with plenty of golden embroidery and embellishments. The bride is adorned with turmeric during the Haldi ceremony, and her hands and feet decorated with mehendi (semi-permanent tatoos) a few days before the wedding. The groom’s family arrives in a procession and are welcomed by the bridal party. The couple exchange flower garlands to symbolize their acceptance of each other. In some cultures, the groom ties a necklace called the mangalsutra, around the bride’s neck and this has to be worn by the bride at all times.The couple circle the holy fire, as they vow to love and care for each other.
In Ghana, the wedding ceremony begins with the groom and his family members knocking on the door of the bride’s house and making their wedding proposal. They hand over gifts to the girl’s family, and if these are accepted it means their proposal will be considered. On the day of the wedding, the elders discuss dowry arrangements and then the bride is asked if she agrees to marry the groom. Once she does, the couple exchange rings and prayers are said. The guests are treated to a feast during the reception.
In Arabic weddings, the couple exchange rings on their engagement day. A day before the wedding, the bride’s hands and feet are decorated with henna and the groom gives the bride her mehr, or gold. The marriage ceremony or the Nikah begins with the religious representative reciting prayers and telling the group how husbands and wives should honor their relationship and each other. Legal documents are filled out and signed by the groom and the bride’s father, witnesses sign the contract and the marriage is official.
In Mexico, the couple’s Godparents sponsor their wedding. Flamenco-style ruffled dresses are the traditional bridal dress choice. The bride changes her outfit a number of times during the ceremony. The reception buffet includes traditional dishes like spicy rice and beans. The cake is a rich fruit cake, and almond cookies are an essential sweet treat served at the reception.
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