There are many ways that different cultures express their love and commitment to spending the rest of their lives together. Some of them are pretty widely known around the world while others are rather unique and largely unheard of. Of course we feel the best way to learn about these traditions is to jet set around the world and see them all for yourself (in which case you may need to book cheap hotels!). However, since that isn’t possible for all you loyal readers out there, here are some of the more unique wedding traditions from around the world.
Working for the Bride
In some parts of Russia, husbands and wives have to do some work to earn their families approvals before they can even get engaged. Before asking his potential partner for her hand in marriage the groom to be has to arrive at his beloved’s house and ask her family for permission. While this on its own isn’t that uncommon, it’s the rest of the process that ends up being quite a bit of work. Before the family gives their approval for the engagement, a groom must deal with several light-hearted refusals from the family until the groom presents them all with gifts and proves his humility. The work doesn’t stop once the family says yes though. After the engagement is approved the couple if forced to do all kinds of unpleasant tasks to prove their love and worthiness to be married.
Couples are often forced to dance, solve riddles and do anything else the family comes up with. On top of that in some cases the young lovers are even forced to do housework together to prove that they are committed to each other and ready for a lifetime together. Finally after all the tasks are complete the bride-to-be’s family will give their approval and the couple can get married!
In Pakistan, there aren’t any unique engagement rituals but there is one “after ceremony” tradition that will definitely stand out amongst western cultures. After the wedding ceremony is completed, the newlywed couple will return to their home to take one last step: the unveiling of the bride’s face. While this is occurring, members of the wedding party will take the grooms shoes and try to hide them. Then once the unveiling is completed, the groom will often have to buy back his shoes from the wedding party by exchanging gifts or money.
A traditional Zulu tribal marriage is filled with bright colors, joy, and dancing. As with may modern weddings the bride will wear a western style wedding dress throughout the main part of the ceremony. However, after the wedding the bride and groom will change into tribal wear to partake in an age old tradition; the slaughtering of the grooms best cow. In traditional Zulu culture this is a high honor that is bestowed upon the new bride and her family as a symbol of their coming together. After the slaughter is completed the union is considered complete, and the family can then move forward together as one.
Peruvian Ring Pulling
In the US, there’s the popular tradition of tossing the bouquet into a group of single women to identify who’s next to be married. Well they have a similar tradition in Peru, with an interesting twist. When the wedding cake is assembled different color ribbons are slipped in between the cake layers. One of the ribbons will have a fake wedding ring tied to it. Then as the cake is being cut, different women will pull our the ribbons. When one lucky lady finally finds the fake wedding ring, it is believed that she is next to be married.
In China, brides have to go through at least three wardrobe changes on their big day. Each dress they wear is symbolic of a different part of the ceremony. Most brides will begin with a traditional red dress that is symbolic of strength as well as good luck. Then, at a later point in the celebration, many brides will change into an all white Western style wedding dress. This is a more modern tradition that is highly influenced by classic American and European weddings seen in Hollywood movies. Finally, once the wedding has ended the bride will make at least one more dress change. This time the bride will change into a more casual cocktail dress that’s suited for partying the rest of the evening with her groom and new family.