Marriage Customs from Around the World

Queen Mary is one of the most multicultural universities in the country, and so with all these nationalities it’s unsurprising to see the range of cultures collide together. So let’s examine exactly how these different cultures celebrate one of the most sacred bonds in life: Marriage.


While we often hear of horror stories of bride’s shoes breaking, take a moment of silence for Chinese couples, as both bride and groom must keep their shoes on until the end of the entire wedding.


A unique tradition that can be found in many French weddings is dubbed the ‘sock dance’ in which the brothers and sisters of the bride and groom wear silly socks and perform a funny dance, whilst guests throw money at them.


Whilst the British bride is normally seen in a white gown, red is the key colour to a successful colour scheme, everything from invitations to the gown itself. For many weddings elaborate : (henna) patterns are essential to helping complete the brides look, and often an entire night is dedicated to friends and family of the bride decorating hands and feet with these designs.


Another interesting feet related tradition which originated in Pakistan and has spread to many cultures, is the idea of the stolen shoe. When the groom is occupied on the most wonderful day of his life, a bride’s family (often the boys or younger children) steal his shoes and attempt to hide them for ransom.


Food is very central to the wedding process in Japan. But, instead of eating cake with your guests, the Japanese share sake amongst the groom, bride and both of their family as a way of signifying their official new bond as a family. Moreover Lobster and clams are often served, as a way to not only visualise the lucky colour red, but also as another way to show the newlyweds harmony. Food can never be served in four courses though, due to the word four, shi, being considered bad luck due to it sounding similar to the Japanese word for death.


In Peru they have the much sweeter idea of pulling out ribbons from a cake instead of throwing the bouquet. So whoever pulls out the ribbon with a fake wedding ring attached to it is said to be the next in line to marry.


Traditionally bouquets of plants or grains were carried to symbolise fertility for the new couple, so modern day brides can be seen to put herbs into their bouquets. At the wedding reception later on, plates are often smashed on the floor for good luck.

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