11 Beautiful Photos That Show How Weddings Are Celebrated Around the World
Wedding season is upon us in the United States, and with it comes a list of old traditions: white dresses, a walk down the aisle, a bouquet toss and a towering, elaborate cake.
It also means a couple of new traditions, like the sometimes cringeworthy staged wedding and engagement photos that are likely to be filling your news feeds.
Elements of these traditions are often exported across the globe, thanks to the spread of western pop culture. But even if the bride is wearing a big, white dress, the age-old ritual is still celebrated differently in other cultures.
From Germany, where newlyweds must clean up shattered porcelain objects to teach them that married life isn't easy, to Malaysia, where each guest receives a decorated hard-boiled egg symbolizing fertility, these little traditions offer a small window into the history and culture of other countries.
Here's a look at some wedding traditions from around the world:
Steeped in tradition, rituals and symbolism, Indian weddings usually last for up to five days or more and include numerous ceremonies for the both the bride and groom.
One ceremony for a traditional Indian Hindu wedding is the Mehndi or henna ceremony at the bride's home before the wedding. There, the women on the bride's side of the family have a professional artist or relative apply beautifully intricate and symbolic designs on the hands and feet of the bride and the rest of the women. After hours of waiting for the henna to dry, the ceremony features music, dance and celebration.
In Chinese tradition, the bride and groom must kneel in front of their parents and serve tea during the sacred tea ceremony to signify their gratitude. After drinking the tea, the parents give the couple a red envelope stuffed with money or jewelry, a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture.
Traditionally held in Shinto Shrines, Japanese wedding ceremonies usually have the brides wear colorful kimonos or Japanese-style gowns on their wedding day.
One important Japanese wedding tradition is the san san kudo, or the sharing of sake. The groom, followed by the bride, takes three sips of rice wine from three different cups, to symbolize their new bond. The families then share the rest of the sake.
In Brazil, the bride traditionally writes the names of her single friends inside her wedding dress to help them find a partner.
No Lebanese wedding is complete without the traditional zaffe, a beautiful, over-the-top, cultural dance that is accompanied with numerous dancers in colorful costumes, loud music and drums to welcome the newly wedded couple.
Here's an example of what the zaffe looks like from a Lebanese wedding in the United States:
In the Greek tradition, guests usually break dishes for good luck and do the money dance, pinning paper money to the newlyweds or showering them with it right before they leave the reception.
7. South Korea
Next, the groom must carry his new mother-in-law to thank her for raising her daughter so well, followed by his mother.
In the remote town of Robnovo in Bulgaria, the bride's face is painted white and decorated with colorful sequins by her female in-laws in a ritual called "gelena." Her hair is covered with a long, red veil with silvery filaments covering her face.
Located in the mountains of southern Bulgaria, weddings in Ribnovo are village-wide events held only in the winter.
During some weddings in Mexico, the couple is bound together with a "lazo," usually a rosary or ribbon. The lazo is draped around the couple's shoulders in the figure eight after their wedding vows to symbolize their never-ending love.
As a part of Italian weddings, guests perform a fast, energetic dance called the Tarantella and form a circle to dance around the newlyweds to wish the couple a long, happy married life together.
During traditional Iranian wedding ceremonies, many objects used have deep, symbolic importance.
During the Aghd ceremony, a collection of items called the Sofreh ye Aghd are placed on a beautiful cloth on the floor. The items include two candelabras, a mirror, seven herbs and spices, a copy of the couple's holy book, gold coins, eggs or nuts and a flatbread called noon-e sangak. The mother passes down the cloth to her daughter, the bride.
During the ceremony, the couple sits at the head of the spread while the married female family members hold a shawl over the couple and grind sugar cones over their heads, which symbolizes sweetness and joy.