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10 Facts About Common Wedding Traditions You Probably Didn’t Know

Many worldwide wedding traditions come from different ancient beliefs and superstitions. Others have surprisingly deep historical roots and meaning behind them. Nevertheless, they all are still as popular today as they were thousands and thousands of years ago. And we still carry them on, even though we’ve never taken a second to consider the meaning behind many of them.

We at Bright Side have found 10 of the most popular traditions that we perform in the same old fashion without knowing their historical background.

1. Brides wore a veil to hide from evil spirits.

The bridal veil was used to ward off evil and protect the purity of the bride. In ancient times, young brides were considered to be vulnerable to enchantment, so relatives tried to hide them from evil spirits “who might want to thwart her happiness.” The Romans, for instance, used flame-colored veils, believing it would scare off all the spirits.

2. The bouquet was tossed to stop people from ripping apart the bridal gown.

In medieval Europe, a bride did not expect to wear or see her wedding dress again. It was seen as good luck, as some kind of fertility charm for single women. And it was common practice for them to chase down the bride and rip off pieces of her dress, tearing it to pieces.

As the years went on, dresses became more and more expensive, so brides created a distraction — they started to throw some objects to the women instead. One of these became a tradition we cannot imagine any wedding without.

3. The first circular wedding rings were found in ancient Egypt.

Egyptian pharaohs used rings to represent eternity because a circle has no beginning and no end. It also reflects the shape of the sun and the moon, which were worshipped by ancient Egyptians. They believed that the ring finger, or fourth finger of the left hand, contained a “vein of love” (vena amoris) that led directly to the heart. So there was a tradition of giving rings to lovers to represent devotion, which was then was adopted by Greeks and Romans.

4. Queen Victoria started the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress.

Back in those times, people used to see the color white as an indicator of wealth — it simply denoted that the bride’s family could afford to have the dress cleaned. Most other women wore bright, colorful dresses to their weddings that they could then use for any other occasion. Victoria, a then-20-year-old bride herself, was the first to ask that no one else wear white to the wedding aside from her and her bridesmaids.

5. Wedding cakes used to be a scone crumbled over the bride’s head.

Ancient Romans ended their weddings with a ceremony where a scone-like cake was crumbled over the bride’s head for good luck and fertility. Then the newlyweds would eat the cake together, and that was considered one of their first unified acts as husband and wife. The guests would then eat the remaining crumbs themselves. Wedding cakes replaced bridal pies only in the seventeenth century.

6. The bride stood to the left of the groom so he could easily protect her.

In ancient times, there was a common practice among men to capture a woman to make her their bride. It was practiced for thousands of years and can still be found in some cultures in Africa and Central Asia. In the Western world, its legacy continues in the way the bride and groom stand during a wedding ceremony. The groom stands on the right side for one single reason: to keep his right arm free, so he can draw his sword if someone attempts to take (capture) the bride away from him.

7. “Tying the knot” is a Celtic tradition of binding the couple’s hands.

This ceremony involves binding couples together in matrimony by tying a cord, cloth, or sash around their hands so the 2 may become one. And though it was first an ancient Celtic practice that dates back to the medieval era, the ritual is still in practice today, and many couples include it as an extra component of their official ceremony. Others use it to renew their vows.

8. The best man used to be the best fighter.

This tradition continues, just as the 2 previous ones do. First, where the bride was captured from her family if they disapproved of the marriage. Second, where the groom was always ready to defend his captured beauty from anyone trying to take her back. And to help him on this mission, he would choose the best man able to fight with his sword and serve as the groom’s armed guardian during the ceremony.

9. Bridesmaids originally wore the same color as the bride to act as decoy brides.

In Ancient Rome and feudal China, it was common for a bride to have a far trip to her groom’s town. This actually made her an easy target for different bandits and the like. With many bridesmaids dressed just like her, it made it harder to assault the young girl.

The practice then evolved to there being 10 witnesses at a wedding ceremony, all dressed in matching colors. Queen Victoria had 12 bridesmaids, and all of them wore white dresses to match her satin gown.

10. “Something old, new, borrowed, and blue” comes from an Old English rhyme.

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe,” is a traditional Victorian-era wedding rhyme. It describes objects that will bring the bride good luck on her wedding day and in marriage. They say that something blue is a sign of purity and fidelity, something new brings optimism for the couple’s future, a borrowed thing borrows happiness and provides good luck, and the old item protects any babies to come.

There are still many more interesting wedding traditions in different countries. Do you have any in yours? What cultural practices you can find at weddings there?

Preview photo credit East News
Bright Side/Curiosities/10 Facts About Common Wedding Traditions You Probably Didn’t Know
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