Do you ever wonder how other cultures celebrate marriage? It’s easy to get stuck in our ways and assume that all other societies have adopted the same customs as us. However, the reality is that almost every culture has their own unique wedding traditions. Below, we’ve compiled a list of five fascinating wedding customs from around the world.
Per Scottish tradition, either the bride, groom, or both are doused in alcohol and then covered in all kinds of gross substances by their friends. Such substances can include treacle, ash, mud, curdled milk, rotten eggs, flour, feathers, molasses, sausages, and fish sauce. After being covered in filth, the couple is then paraded around town. This pre-wedding tradition was originally created to ward off evil spirits and bring the happy couple good luck.
Spitting on the Bride, Kenya
In Kenya, more specifically in the Massai nation of Kenya, it is customary for the father of the bride to bless his daughter by spitting on her at the end of the wedding ceremony. Specifically, the father spits on his daughter’s head and chest as she is leaving the ceremony with her new husband. This is seen as a way of bringing good luck to the newlyweds, and not tempting fate by being too supportive of the couple. After being spit on, the bride then leaves the ceremony with her new husband without looking back.
Falaka, South Korea
There is a rather unique traditional in South Korean weddings that relates to the groom. Known as the falaka, this custom involves beating the bottoms of the groom’s feet. The falaka is a specific ceremony that occurs at the end of the wedding. It must take place in order for the groom to be able to leave with his bride. What happens is the groom removes his socks and shoes. From there, his family and friends hold him down. Then, each friend and family member take a turn beating the soles of his feet. Usually, the feet are beaten with either a stick, a cane, or a dried fish. The point of the ceremony is to test the groom’s knowledge, which is why in between beatings, he is asked various trivia questions. Although it may sound a little sinister, the custom is intended to be fun more than anything else.
Hopefully, you’re not the jealous type! Sweden has a kissing tradition whereby anytime the bride leaves the table at the reception, all the ladies in the room are welcome to steal a kiss from the groom. The tradition goes both ways, so if the groom leaves the table for any reason, any of the men in the room can get up to smooch the bride.
Crying Before the Wedding, China
There is a fascinating bridal ritual among the Tujia people in the Sichuan province of China. One month before the wedding, the bride must cry for one hour each day. Ten days after she starts, her mother joins her. Another ten days after that, her grandmother joins her. By the end of the 30 days, every woman in the family is crying alongside the bride. Although it might seem a bit depressing, crying in this way is seen as an expression of joy, love, and gratitude.
Now you know how a few other cultures celebrate marriage! We hope this will inspire you to do some of your own research into different wedding traditions all over the world.
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