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Ancient Wedding Customs III

Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind one of the most infamous wedding rhymes , (‘something old, something new”¦’)? Can you imagine if people got married at the age typical of the ancient Roman male and female? In this article, you will learn more about ancient wedding customs, including many around-the-world traditions.

Ground Rules for Ancient Roman Marriages

In early Roman times, the concept of divorce did not exist so a great deal of energy went into choosing a suitable marriage partner. During these days, the groom had to be at least 14 years old before he could have a bride, who could be as young as 12 years old. One of the ground rules that the ancient Romans followed when it came to marriage was that a bride and groom could not be closed related. Marriage was not permitted between relative four times removed, and between anyone connected by marriage, such as the brother of your sister’s husband.

The “Something Old” Jingle

The “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” rhyme that has been followed by many brides for years is actually an old English rhyme. In the beginning, the rhyme included the line: “and a sixpence in your shoe”. A breakdown of the tradition includes the following explanations:

In the past, it was customary that relatives offer something old to the bride. Sometimes, it was an antique piece of jewelry or the wedding dress. These types of items became something that was passed along the newer generations.

The “new” item represented the future home that the couple would share with one another. The wedding dress or veil often fulfilled this portion of the rhyme. However, it could also be a new coin tucked inside the bride’s shoe, bouquet of flowers, or strand of pearls (or other jewelry).  

The ‘something borrowed’ symbolized borrowed happiness. The ideal item was something that brought happiness to the previous owner. Perhaps it was a piece of jewelry that belonged to your grandmother or your father’s silk scarf. Sometimes, it could be something intangible, such as the wedding song of your parents.

The color blue is symbolic of love, fidelity, and good fortune, which is why a blue ribbon is often placed on the garter that is worn by the bride. Other ways to incorporate the color blue includes sapphire earrings, bracelet, necklace or ring; blue lingerie; and flowers, such as delphiniums and irises.

Other wedding traditions and customs include:

·    As a symbol of fertility, a tradition in Holland is to plant a tree outside of the home of newlyweds

·    Brides in Finland would traditionally carry a pillowcase door to door to collect gifts.

·    During this ritual, she was accompanied by an older married man who served as a symbol that she would enjoy a long marriage.

·    When getting married, Korean brides would dress in red and yellow outfits.

·    In an attempt to confuse evil spirits, Danish brides and grooms would wear clothing of the opposite sex.

·    When Japanese couples get married, some believe that they truly become man and wife when they take nine sips of sake together.

·    A tradition in Ireland was to lock the doors of the church when the both the bride and groom were inside to make sure that the man did not back out of the union.

·    Some believe that it is important that a male (and not a female) be the first to congratulate and wish a newly married couple well.