Love is universal, so is religion. Religious traditions in weddings always bring an extra level of sentimentality and closeness between the couple and their guests. Here are six great traditions we have come across!
A common practice in Hindu weddings, the Mehndi is one of the most unique, beautiful parts of the ceremony. The bride receives her Mehndi at a party before the day of the wedding with her friends. This is where the bride is adorned with intricate henna designs on her arms, hands, legs and feet. The Mehndi represents the strength of love in a marriage and the darker the color, the stronger the love is. Learn more about Indian weddings here.
Chuppahs are structures we are used to seeing in many wedding photos, they are the canopies under which many people get married. If you are Jewish, the bride and groom cannot wear jewelry under the chuppah because it could cause a focus on material possessions. It consists of a cloth or sheet, stretched or supported over four poles, or sometimes manually held up by attendants to the ceremony. A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together and the sides are open to symbolize hospitality.
Thirteen Gold Coins
In Catholic Latin American weddings, it is common for the groom to give the bride 13 gold coins. These have been blessed by the priest marrying them and represent Christ and his 12 apostles.
The Unity Candle
Unity candles are a Christian tradition where the couple uses individual lighted candles to ignite a single, larger candle. The ritual symbolizes the two families that are brought together when two people marry becoming one. The bride’s parents light a candle and then the groom’s parents light another and then together, the bride and groom use these two candles to light a third, larger candle of their own.
The Breaking of Glass
We’ve all seen it, either in person or in movies, at a Jewish wedding the man breaks glass at the end of the ceremony. After the bride has been given the ring (in Jewish weddings men don’t receive rings during the ceremony – if the bride wants to give one she does so after the ceremony) the groom breaks a glass, crushing it with his right foot, and the guests shout “Mazel tov!” (Congratulations). In recent years, couples have moved away from using the traditional glass to lightbulbs because they are thinner making them easier to break and make a louder popping sound. Although the origin of this practice is not known, it is agreed upon to be an act that symbolizes that joy must always be tempered.
Jumping the Broom
African American and Pagan weddings have a common practice called “jumping the broom” at the end of the ceremony. For African Americans, the ritual is derived from the fact that slaves in America were not permitted to marry, so they devised the symbolic gesture of jumping over a broom to signify marriage. The ritual also has meanings ranging from “sweeping away” the single life to evoking a sense of hearth and home.
This custom originates from the tradition of shaking hands over a contract. At Pagan weddings, the couple’s hands are bound together, often with lovely colored ribbons and cords, to symbolize their union. Originating from Great Britain during pagan times, the bride and groom bind their hands together with a ribbon, symbolizing the joining of their lives. Today, many couples do this immediately before or after the exchange of rings.