Thursday, July 15, 2010

Traditions

Every culture has traditions that are followed and used for a wedding. This is one of the most celebrated events in a person’s life and they are steeped in tradition.
Something Old, Something New,Something Borrowed, Something Blue,and a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe

The above good luck saying comes from Victorian times and many brides still arrange their wedding attire accordingly, even though the silver sixpence has been left out. The old and new items represent the transition from single to married life. Something Old is the link with the bride’s past. Antique jewelry or a relative’s wedding gown is usually chosen. Something New is the good fortune and success the bride expects in her new life. The wedding gown can be the new item, as well as jewelry or shoes. Something Borrowed is to remind the bride of friends and family that she needs in her life and represents approval from them. The borrowed item may be a garter, a lace handkerchief, gloves, a veil, or jewelry. Something Blue provides the symbol of faithfulness, loyalty, purity, love, and fidelity. The blue item can be a flower, the garter, jewelry, or shoes. A Silver Sixpence is to wish the bride wealth. In England, bride’s still do this. The sixpence can also be sewn into the wedding dress.

The Garter
Throwing the garter began in France when guests would try to take pieces of the bridal attire since it was considered lucky. The bride would throw the garter to the guests and whoever caught it could expect good luck. In the US, it is removed by the groom and thrown to the unmarried men to suggest who would be the next to marry. Some garters are given to the lady who caught the bouquet since she would be the next expected wedding. The garter is placed on the bride’s right leg just above the knee. Today, many brides wear two, one to keep and one to toss.

With this ring, I thee wed; and with my body I thee honor; and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.

In ancient times, the third finger of the left hand was thought to contain a vein that ran directly to the heart. Thus placing a ring on this finger meant a strong connection of a heartfelt love and commitment to each other. Medieval grooms place the ring on three of the bride’s fingers, symbolizing God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The Honeymoon
In ancient times, many marriages were by capture, not by choice. When a man felt he ought to take a woman, he would carry off any unwilling female to a secret place where her relatives wouldn’t find them. The moon went through all its phases (about thirty days) as they hid from the searchers. It also means the first moments of blossoming love that a married couple spends together are the sweetest. It originally had a negative connotation as the love wanes; the honey moon is over, as the changing phase of the moon. Happily, the connotation has been lost, and the honeymoon is the time the couple spends together before settling down in the home. This was also a chance for the new couple to hide from friends and family for a period of time.

The Cake
Since Roman times, the cake has been a special part of the wedding reception. A thin loaf was broken over the bride’s head at the close of the ceremony to ensure fertility. Wheat symbolizes fertility and the guests eagerly picked up crumbs as good luck charms. During the Middle Ages, couples kissed over a cluster of small cakes. In Victorian times, small charms were baked into the cake. These charms would foretell the fate of whoever came across them. “The ring for marriage within a year; The penny for wealth, my dear; The thimble for an old maid or bachelor born; the button for sweethearts all forlorn.” The tradition of feeding each other a piece of cake is a test of trust. It is meant to symbolize that you will feed each other in difficult times. For some reason, it is popular to shove the cake into each other’s faces which seems silly to me, since the dress cost a great deal of money and the groom may not have purchased the tux.

International Traditions:
• England: The bride wouldn’t allow her married name to be used before the wedding since it was considered bad luck.
• England: Brides sew a good luck charm into the hem of her wedding gown (a silver horseshoe is worn by royal British brides).
• Holland and Switzerland: A pine tree, which is the symbol of fertility and luck, was planted outside of the couple’s new home.
• South Africa: Both the bride’s and groom’s parents carried a fire from the hearths of their homes to the couple’s new home to begin the fire in their home.
• Armenia: Two whites doves were set free to symbolize love and happiness.
• Bermuda: The wedding cake was a multi-level fruitcake and had a small cedar tree on top. The tree was planted and is supposed to grow with the love of the couple.
• Japan: Brides change their bridal attire several times throughout the wedding day.
• Italy: Flowers decorated the front of the bridal car so the bride and groom would have happy travels through their life together.
• Poland: Guests paid to dance with the bride by pining money to her veil or tucking bills into a special bridal purse to build a honeymoon fund.
• Spain: During the reception, wedding guests danced a special dance and then present gifts to the bride.
• Greece: To ensure a “sweet life,” a bride may carry a lump of sugar in her glove on her wedding day.
• Early American: The bride pinned a small pouch to her wedding petticoat that contained a small piece of bread, cloth, wood, and a single one-dollar bill. This ensured there would be enough food, clothes, shelter, and money for the future.
• Victorian: Brides wore gloves, the symbol of modesty and romance, because without the “g” they were a pair of loves.

Anniversaries
These are the traditional gifts considered appropriate to give to married couples.
1st Paper
2nd Cotton
3rd Leather
4th Linen
5th Wood
6th Iron
7th Wool
8th Bronze
9th Pottery
10th Tin, Aluminum
11th Steel
12th Silk
13th Lace
14th Ivory
15th Crystal
20th China
25th Silver
30th Pearl
35th Coral, Jade
40th Ruby
45th Sapphire
50th Gold
55th Emerald
60th Diamond

The book is almost complete, so I'll post when I have it up on Etsy. I guess I've made it! I just need to get it organized and looked over and I have a completed book! Yay!