Local traditions preceding the exchange of wedding vows vary greatly. Every nation has its own set of customs and beliefs related to marriage rituals, including things that have to be done before, during, and after walking down the aisle. Here are some of these fascinating peculiarities found in Europe and Asia.
1. The Czech Republic
Czech pre-wedding traditions involve trees. Before the event, friends of the wife-to-be should plant one in her yard. It is then embellished with painted eggshells and colorful ribbons. The legend says she will live as long as this tree.
Other traditions are linked to fertility. The woman receives three kinds of dishes related to maternity: the first one is wheat, the second is a millet and ash mix (for her to sort out as proof of patience), and the third one includes a living sparrow hiding under its lid. Before the couple walks down the aisle, a baby is put in their bed. This is supposed to enhance fertility.
Here, the lady will often be stolen by her family right before the big day. She has to be “rescued” by her lover and his relatives. The person who manages to save her should become the next person to get married.
Here, wedding customs begin at birth. Once a girl is born, a few trees get planted to commemorate the event. When the girl decides to get married and sets the date, they are sold. As German families tend to plan their wedding budget well ahead, the tradition is explained by the need to collect dowry for their daughters.
The groom’s relatives and friends often design a special newspaper. This includes photos and stories about the future husband and wife. The paper is sold at the nuptial ceremony, and the money is used to cover a part of honeymoon costs.
Here, engagement must include a go-between, and the entire process is controlled by the groom’s mother and father. The role of the middleman is to deliver gifts to the lady’s parents after her future husband has made his choice. This person must also determine the exact date and hour when she was born.
This information is later used by both families to define compatibility based on an astrologer’s or fortune teller’s opinion. The future wife is also hidden from the man until the day X. After the event, she has to be transported to her husband’s home in a sedan chair, while being taken care of by a “good luck” woman.
Here, the man must visit his lady’s home in the morning before the marital rites and prove his worth. It is done by either giving a monetary ransom for the bride, bringing lavish gifts to his future in-laws or doing humiliating dances and singing songs until he is told to stop.