You know it’s real when a bride and groom slaughter a chicken together on their wedding day.
Weddings are as old as society itself, and their traditions differ within every culture, religion, or ethnicity. What makes a ceremony auspicious or memorable can be anything from having a religious cleric officiate the event to looking for lucky signs in a chicken’s liver like some Mongolian wedding couples do.
Here are a few wedding traditions from around the globe that you may not have heard of.
1. Beating the groom’s feet (South Korea)
Falaka, or beating the groom’s feet with an old cane or dried fish, usually occurs right before the newlywed can leave with his bride. It’s not malicious and is usually done in good fun, with wedding guests taking turns and even quizzing the groom’s knowledge as he’s beaten.
2. La Soupe en la Toilet Bowl (France)
Have you ever wondered what to do with all those wedding leftovers? Well, look no further because in some French weddings, guests will gather leftover food and drink, and serve the concoction to the newlyweds to help “boost their performance” on their wedding night. Yet another example of how the French continue to be leagues ahead of everyone else when it comes to romance.
3. Spitting on the bride (Massai Nation, Kenya)
Nothing bonds a father and his daughter better than a little spittle. The father of the bride will usually spit on her head and breasts as a means to ensure that he doesn’t tempt fate into ruining his daughter’s special day by being too supportive himself. The bride then goes on with her husband and is advised not to turn back lest she is turned to stone.
4. Zaffe (Arab cultures)
Zaffe or zaffah is the ultimate pre-wedding hype up, as friends, family, musicians, and professional dancers shout, dance and make merry as they escort the groom to his bride’s home. It announces that the wedding is about to start as the entourage joyously claps, shouts and the throws flower petals on the happy couple.
5. Kiss and Don’t Tell (Sweden)
At any point during the wedding, if the bride isn’t in the room, the ladies at the reception are free to steal a kiss from the groom. This work both ways of course, so if the groom isn’t present, the bride is also free to be smooched by any of the groomsmen.
6. Crying Prep (Sichaun Province, China)
For about a month in advance, the brides of the Tuija people spend an hour a day crying in anticipation of her wedding. Each week, she is joined by her a mother and grandmother gradually until all the female members of the family are weeping with her. They’re tears of joy though, no worries.
7. The Blackening of the Bride (Scotland)
A day before the wedding, the bride and groom are captured by friends and family, covered head to toe in all sorts of things from flour to rotten eggs to curdled milk to even molasses and then paraded around the town. Although it’s done in good fun, its original purpose was to ward off evil spirits.
So go forth with your new knowledge and ideas for your future weddings. These wedding traditions are the threads that bind cultural and personal memories together on your special day. Even if they seem a bit unconventional.