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Wedding customs around the world

EVERY country and every culture around the world has different customs relating to weddings. Some are amusing, some are strange and some border on the bizarre!

Three changes

In modern China, brides pick not one wedding dress, but three. First, there's the traditional qipao or cheongsam, an embroidered, slim-fitting frock that's usually made red for weddings, because red is a strong, lucky color in Chinese culture. Next, the bride might swap into a white poufed ball gown that wouldn't look out of place at an American wedding — a bridal nod to the popularity of Western trends. Finally, the bride ducks out of the reception to change into a third dress, this one a gown of her colour choice or a cocktail dress.

 

Painted Hands

Before an Indian bride gets married, she and her female friends and family decorate their hands and feet with elaborate designs called menhdi. These temporary designs are made from the plant dye henna, and they last just a few weeks. The menhdi designs are incredibly intricate and take hours to apply, not including the time the bride must wait for the henna paste to dry and stain her skin. Turning the occasion into a "mehndi party" makes the process more fun — and friends and family are present to help the bride out with anything she might need while she's being adorned.


Jumping the Broom

A number of cultures, from Celts to Roma (or Gypsies) have incorporated some sort of leap over a broom into their wedding traditions. Today, broom-jumping is most often found in African-American weddings. The tradition is rooted in the days of slavery when marriage between enslaved men and women wasn't legally sanctioned. In the antebellum period, enslaved men and women would declare their union by jumping over a broom together.

 

Mazel Tov

The breaking of the glass in Jewish weddings, in which the groom crushes a glass under his foot at the end of the ceremony, is a tradition with unclear roots. Some hold that the breaking glass symbolises the destruction of the great Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while others say that the broken glass is a reminder that joy should always be tempered. Either way, breaking the glass is usually undertaken in the spirit of happiness today, with wedding guests calling out "mazel tov" (good luck!) after the glass shatters.

A full read on this article is in the June issue  of Real Brides Magazine

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