Wedding ceremonies are a central life event in nearly all cultures across the globe and they have held this vaunted position since long before mankind began writing down its history. Much has changed in the history of weddings, as we moved from marriages intended to close alliances between families to marriages conducted for the sake of love. And just as many of our American wedding traditions can be a little weird (hello, Chicken Dance!), many cultures across the globe honor wedding traditions that take a walk on the wild side.
Germany: Breaking Dishes
In some areas of Germany, the wedding couple and members of the wedding party take part in a messy (and, arguably, extremely fun) tradition of breaking dishes. The dishes are usually thrown into a big pile on the ground and the noise from the breaking ceramics are intended to scare away any evil spirits that might intend the newlywed couple harm.
Scotland: “Blackening” the Bride
Before walking down the aisle, many Scottish brides are “treated” to a blackening ceremony, in which their friends, loved ones, and community members throw or pour any number of weird or gross liquids at the bride. This could include anointed the bride-to-be with tar, oil, cooking scraps, and paint to name a few. The point is to demonstrate that if a bride can endure a “blackening,” she can endure any difficulties of married life.
India: Stealing the Groom’s Shoes
In wedding ceremonies in certain parts of India, the groom is required to remove his shoes before approaching the altar. This prompts a lively tradition in which members of the bride’s family tries to steal the shoes while members of the groom’s family tries to steal them back. This raucous tradition is considered complete when either the groom’s family takes possession of the shoes fairly, or pays a “ransom” to the bride’s family to have them returned.
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