Home and Abroad 10 different wedding traditions from around the world

In Nigeria, every tribe - be it Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, or any other, have their ways of giving out a bride in marriage, and so also, in other parts of Africa and the rest of the world.

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Massai wedding attire play

Massai wedding attire

(Gerard Closset)
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If there is one thing that every part of the world has in common, it is the fact that we all hold wedding ceremonies to celebrate the beginning of a new family.

However, we all don't carry out the ceremonies in the same way, since we all come from different origins with diverse cultures and traditions.

In Nigeria, every tribe - be it Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, or any other, have their ways of giving out a bride in marriage, and so also, in other parts of Africa and the rest of the world.

Below are 10 different wedding traditions from around the world:

  1. South Africa - Lighting of the hearth: One of the most common wedding traditions in South Africa is having the parents of the bride and groom bring fire from their homes to light the hearth of the newlyweds together as a family.

  2. Kenya - Ritual of spitting on the bride: In Kenya, it is a Massai tradition for the father of the bride to spit on her to bring good luck and fortune to her marriage. Usually, spitting in this culture is frowned upon, but during the wedding it is an exception.

  3. Turkey - Henna night: The henna night which is also known as Kina Gecesi is a ceremony that usually takes place the night before the wedding. Historically, it is to symbolize the bride leaving their family's home as a daughter and entering into a new family as a wife. A red veil is place over the bride-to-be and her hands are elaborately decorated in henna.

  4. India - Garland ceremony: The garland ceremony also known as Var Mala is one of the most significant traditions of Indian weddings, where the bride and groom exchange colourful floral garlands to signify their unity and acceptance of one another. This ritual is practiced throughout India, but differs on shape and size depending on the region. For instance, the Var Mala found in Northern India is much longer and heaver compared to ones found in Southern India. Red roses are the most common flower used for the garlands, but orchids and carnations are some alternatives.

  5. Mexico - Colour-themed wedding: A Mexican bride is in charge of the colour-theme in her wedding and her hue choice appears everywhere from the wedding cake to the car that is used to transport the newlyweds around on their special day. At the ceremony site, matching flowers and ribbon are place everywhere for a colourful touch.

  6. Australia - Unity bowl: In Australia, the custom of having a unity bowl can be seen at weddings that would like to incorporate a time-honoured tradition. The purpose of this bowl is to have all family members fill it with colourful stones to signify that each person has contributed to colouring the lives of the newlyweds. Each individual family member is represented by a particular colour and when the couple mixes the bowl, a new family is formed with the beautiful mosaic of colour that has been created from the multicolored stones.

  7. China - Auspicious dates: There are auspicious dates in Chinese culture that are ideal for a wedding ceremony to take place on. The bride and groom will consult with an authority on the subject, which can include a Chinese monk, a temple official, a fortune teller or simply looking at a Chinese calendar for a lucky date. Usually, dates that are even-numbered are preferred and the seventh month in the Lunar year is always avoided due to it being the month when the Hungry Ghost Festival takes place.

  8. Japan - Sake drinking: In Japan, weddings traditionally happens in Shinto shrines, where the groom and bride partake in a sake-drinking ritual called san-san-ku-do. This ancient tradition translates as 'three-three-nine-times', where couples drink from three different-sized cups three times each. Odd numbers in Japan are considered lucky, especially the number three. The smallest cup represents heaven, the middle earth and the largest humankind.

  9. Poland - Money dance: In Poland, the Czepek which means 'money dance' is a popular custom that helps finance the couple's honeymoon. Wedding guests pin money to the bride and groom's clothing while dancing and also create a circle around the couple where they throw money onto the bride's veil.

  10. Norway - Wedding cake: Kransekake is a traditional Norwegian cake that is often served at weddings or holiday celebrations. It contains almonds, icing sugar and egg whites. It is created by stacking the cake rings of different sizes from largest to smallest in a pyramid shape. The top is adorned with trinkets depending on the occasion, for example a bride figurine for a wedding.

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