Did you know marriage was originally intended to create alliances between families? According to a Week article titled “The origins of marriage,” the institution of marriage was more for creating heirs and economic reasons rather than love. The first recorded history of marriage can date back to ancient Mesopotamia, around 2350 B.C., according to the site.
Then, the idea of marriage spread around Europe and was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. Blessings from a priest became a necessary step for marriage to be legal, according to the Week. Until women were granted more rights in the 20th century, men were seen as leaders in a marriage, the site stated.
Although marriages have evolved over time, traditionally, characteristics of American marriages can include white gowns, suits, bridal showers, cake, exchanging of rings and vows, according to an article titled “American Wedding Traditions.”
During marriages in Mexico, there is a tradition called “lazo” which is a long necklace made from rosary beads. The necklace is put around the couple in the formation of the number eight. The “lazo” represents a symbol of everlasting love, according to an article titled “Mexican Wedding Traditions Explained.” The “lazo” is usually placed after the couple has exchanged vows. It is first placed on the groom then the bride and is worn for the remainder of the wedding ceremony, according to the site.
Another tradition in Mexican wedding culture is called 13 gold coins (arras). The tradition originated from Spain. The groom presents the bride with 13 gold coins. Later, the bride passes the coins to the priest for blessings. Then the priest passes the coins back to the bride who will pass them back to the groom symbolizing trust. At the end of the ceremony, the groom must pass the coins back to the bride to reciprocate trust in their marriage, according to Wedding Details in an article titled, “Mexican Wedding Traditions.”
Before German couples have a wedding, there is a “Polterabend.” A “Polterabend” is a traditional party that rings in good luck by breaking porcelain. Later, the couple must clean the mess up together as a sign of overcoming challenges, according to German Way in an article titled, “A smashing good time at a Polterabend.”
During the wedding ceremony, Germans eat Spitzwecken, a 10-foot long cake that is carried out by wedding guests, according to “9 German wedding traditions you should know.” The people carrying the cake put on a little show by pretending to not be able to bring the cake in the door. Next, they ax a piece of wood pretending that the piece of wood is the door frame. They end up bringing the cake in by sawing it in half. There is usually too much cake leftover, so it becomes party favors, according to the site.
According to an article titled “Indian weddings often last three days,” several days before the wedding there is a “Misri,” a ceremony where the bride and groom exchange prayers, garlands, gold rings and “Misri” (rock sugar) for a sweet marriage.
Then there is a “Sangeet,” a dance party for both the bride and groom’s families. The next celebration is called “Mehndi” which takes place one day before the wedding ceremony. Only women can attend this event and this is where henna is drawn on the brides’ hands and feet, according to the site. On the morning of the wedding, both the groom and bride put a turmeric water mixture on their skin and clothes as a sign of blessing.
Unlike American weddings where the bride and groom dress in a white gown and tuxedo, Indian weddings are filled with color. The bride and groom often wear red during their weddings. Indian weddings typically take place under a “Mandap,” a colorful four-pillar canopy, according to an article titled, “Indian Wedding Traditions, You Didn’t Know About.” Also instead of exchanging rings couples exchange gold necklaces, called the “Mangalsutra” to signify strong love. The evolution of weddings and how different countries celebrate them is truly fascinating, even if you’re not getting married anytime soon.