Wedding Traditions and Meanings

The wedding ceremony is a social union between two people with legality officiated by a priest, higher official of the community and this sacred vow is called marriage. Wedding traditions and meanings varies cultures, tribal groups and religion. In some cases, some wedding customs follows superstitious beliefs examples are: presentations of gifts such as jewelries,money,flowers or any symbolic item from the family’s heirloom. During this special day, the bride and groom wears their special “wedding dress and suit”. In some religions, music, poetry ,prayers and reading of scriptures are very important in any wedding ceremony. Marriages vary in different cultures and beliefs: sororate marriages, open marriages, levirate marriages, forced marriages, love marriages,ghost marriages,arranged marriages,child marriages and same-sex marriages. Same-sex or same-gender marriages are now performed legally in some countries, and recognized as “partnership in civil union” or “commitment ceremony”.

1) Collective Wedding or Mass Wedding

The “Collective Wedding” or “mass wedding”; several couples are united in a marriage ceremony, especially for those couples who could not afford a grand wedding. The mass wedding are commonly sponsored by the local NGOs of their countries. Mass wedding are now done in Japan, China, Philippines, South Korea, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine and Iran. The mass wedding are performed by different religions including Christians, Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims. Couples who joins in the mass wedding comes from tribes or comes from poor families like farmers.

2) Child Marriages

In some rural areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they still practice child marriage customs or Swara . Swara is a custom tied to blood-feuds among various clans and tribal families. The practice involves young girls who are sacrificed to “force marriage” to resolve the family feuds which is very common among the “Pashtuns” tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In some tribal areas in Pakistan the custom of child marriage is called “Vani”. Although today it is illegally practiced. However, in some rural areas this wedding customs are still being practiced.

3) Arranged or Forced Marriages in Asia

The Bengali traditional wedding is arranged by matchmakers called “Ghotoks”, which are commonly relatives or friends of the groom and bride. The relatives helps the couple’s family agree to the amount of the settlement for the dowry.The couple engages to a ceremony called gaye holud ceremony. The marriage ceremony and the ceremony held at the reception are usually done in different days.

“The engagement”- the groom give the wedding ring to his future bride as a gift, and called the “Ashirwaad” ceremony. Then the traditional “gaye holud” where the groom’s relative decorate him with turmeric paste.

Hindu Wedding Traditions and Meanings

Henna or Mhendi:

Henna or Mhendi is a tradition of applying the brides hands and feet on the eve of her wedding day, and applied turmeric paste on the bride’s skin by close relatives and friends called “Mehndiwali”, to “improve and lighten” the bride’s skin.

Baraat the wedding procession in North India and Pakistan, where the traditional groom ride on horseback, to travel to the wedding place or the bride’s house.

The Qazi or Maulri, a Hindu priest officiate the Nikaah or wedding ceremony.
4) Ukrainian Traditional Wedding

The traditional wedding of the Ukrainian is one of the most important feast which they celebrate with folk music and dances, visual arts, singing and rituals of the pre-christianity, or ancient tradition of paganism. They traditionally decorate the wedding venue with colorful “Rushnyk”, an embroidered towel used for decoration purposes on special occasion.

Most Hutsuls are Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church parishioners.

5) Kazakhstan Wedding

The “betashar” or revealing of face feast, follows after weeks or months of negotiation between the groom and the bride’s family. After the bride showed respect to the groom’s family, the mother in law lift the bride’s veil and kiss her, and place the white scarf on the bride’s head symbolizing her married status and welcome her to their family. After the feasts, the teacher of Islam will arrive to read the Quran and perform the religious rite called “Neke Qiyu”. The teacher is called “Mullah

6) Turkey Wedding Customs

Before the Turkish wedding ceremony begin, the bride asks her single bridesmaids, friends and relatives to sign their names on the bridal sole-shoes. After the wedding feasts, the bride and groom check on the signatures, and the most faded name will be the next bride.

7) Egyptian Wedding customs

The wedding procession that brings the bride to the groom’s house, the bride is inside her carrier covered with curtains on top of the camel’s back. These is the traditional wedding customs for Islams.

On their wedding day, the Egyptian women pinch the bride as a good luck wish for the newlyweds. The bride’s family will do the household chores for a week including cooking for the newlyweds. This practice allows the couple to relax and have their sweet moments together.

8) Sundanese,Indonesia wedding customs

Sundanese wedding ceremony, Indonesia

In Malaysia, the groom send gifts to the bride’s home, by children dressed in colorful costumes and delivered paper money folded in flower or animal shapes, food trays, and form a procession on the way to the bride’s house. And each guests, are given decorated hard-boiled egg, as a fertility symbol.

Malaysia Muslim wedding

The groom send his gifts to his bride’s home through children dressed in colorful costumes and formed a procession bringing tray of foods and paper money formed into flowers or animal shapes. The guest received colorful hard-boiled egg as a symbol of fertility and flowers, and this rituals is called “bunga telur”.

9) Zoroastrian Wedding or Parsi Wedding

The Zoroastrian wedding is a religious wedding tradition that unites the newlywed couple in Religious book of Zoroastrian. Most marriages are arranged by parents and relatives. All female members of both parties, prepares silver coins and lighted lamps on both marrying couple’s house. Female members travel to each homes, and put silver coins upon the lighted lamps. “Adami” or exchanging of gifts between two families are performed three days before the wedding day. The gifts may consist of jewelries and clothes. “Hormazd” or new moon, and the first day of Parsee month is the most favorable date for wedding day. Mango tree is planted near the door entrance as a symbol of fertility.

10) Fiji wedding

In Fiji, it is a custom for the bridegroom to give the bride’s father a present– a whale tooth called “tabua”. Tabua symbolizes status and wealth.

11) Korean Wedding

Most South Koreans adopt the western wedding ceremonies, but some Koreans, still follow the traditional customs of marriage. In Korea, Korean brides do not adopt their husband’s surname as any western married couples do. The wedding is held on the bride’s house or garden. In ancient times, the groom travel on a horseback going to his bride’s home. After the wedding ceremony, the groom will take his new bride to his parent’s home on a palanquin.

After the wedding, a Korean traditional wedding custom known as “pyabaek” is held, and exclusively attended by family members. The parents sit on the cushion while the newlyweds, sat opposite them and kneel on the floor and vow their heads pressing their foreheads to their hands.

12) Japanese Traditional wedding customs

Traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, here the bride used the the “white hood” called wataboshi.

The traditional headgear for the Japanese bride is called tsunokakushi, the two headgears wataboshi and tsunokakushi serves as “hidng the bride’s horns of jealousy”, and a symbol for the bride’s to become an obedient wife and gentle.

In Japan, the couple must first file for marriage at their local government municipal office for official documentation as husband and wife. There are three types of marriages in Japan; Miai or arranged marriage, ren’ai or a love-match marriage and the dekichatta kekkon or forced marriage (parental agreement).The Japanese bride must be painted pure white from head to toe, as symbol of her maiden status to the gods.

13) Chinese Wedding Custom

In ancient times, most Chinese marriages are pre-arranged marriages between two families. Nowadays many Chinese marry their choices.

In Confucian families, marriage should be united with families of different surnames.

Some Chinese villages the bride still use a fan to cover her face.

14) Vietnamese Traditional marriages

On the day of the wedding, the representative of the family, the groom’s father followed by the groom with their close friends and relatives will have the procession leading them to the bride’s house. In ancient times, the groom’s mother usually don’t take part and “hide” for a short period of time as not to “threaten” the bride. But these customs are now disregarded.


Traditional Vietnamese wedding is the most important celebration in Vietnam culture, and also influenced by Chinese Ethical and philosophical Buddhist ideologies. Before the wedding day, the and his family would travel to the bride’s home, bringing present for the family consisting of “betel nuts” for the official permission to receive the bride, and the bride’s family give their confirmation and discuss about the wedding plans. In some places in Vietnam, they still practice “forced and arranged marriages”, but since there was a huge number of brides fleed their homes, these was no longer practiced. The odd numbers and “red cloth” brings good luck to the newlyweds. The bride and groom burn incense in front of the bride’s ancestor’s altar to bless them.

15) Cambodia Traditional Wedding custom

The traditional Cambodian wedding is celebrated for three days that represents the Three Jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, brotherhood of Monks (Sangha) and the Teachings of Buddha (Dhamma). But some Cambodian in modern days do not practice the 3 days celebration and instead make it a one day celebration.

16) Traditional Thailand wedding customs

The wedding ceremony starts with the groom’s procession to the bride’s “hidden place”, accompanied by dancers and musicians. The groom performs some traditional rituals before meeting his bride. soon the bride and groom joined together, they kneel down and the Buddhist monk drape the string forming a circle to the couple’s head to join them and blessed them.

After the Monk’s string blessing ceremony, the water ceremony follows, where the guests pour holy water over the newlyweds hands for good luck. After the water ceremony, the couple signed their marriage certificate and the final ritual is the planting of Love tree.

17) Traditional Nigerian Wedding custom

Nigerian bride wears a colorful wedding dress which is usually imported from India. They wear traditional coral-beaded bracelets, necklace and anklets as their accessories. The bride is accompanied by her father to the wedding venue with his groom, both families, friends and relatives. after the feast, the bride go home to her father’s house and wait for her groom to fetch her. After the groom claimed her back from the father, they go back to the groom’s house where they will stay for sometime. The Fulani tribes tradition is the groom to be flogged by elders of his family, and if he won’t cry then he is ready to marry the girl he loves.

18) Sudan Wedding Customs

The sudanese groom is welcomed at the wedding venue by the “umbul-umbul” ceremony. The future mother-in-law gives the groom a flower garland and a secret message known “keris”, that he must work hard for his future family, these ritual is a symbol that he is welcome to the family.Then the bride and groom sit together under an umbrella in front of their future house and bend and kiss the knees of their parents, the “sungkem ceremony”, asking forgiveness and blessings and make a vow that they continue to serve and respect their parents.

The whipping ritual or back-lashing using leather whip, a traditional ritual by the Gaali tribe of Sudan. “Jalabias” are stripped off by young male Sudanese. flogged by the groom and other family members, to show endurance and braveness to empress single ladies.

19) Traditional wedding custom in Sweden

In Sweden, it is a custom that the bride’s mother put silver coin in her left wedding shoe and gold silver placed by her father in the right shoe as symbol of their daughter not to go out from her vows. The bride carry bouquets made of fragrant herbs to cast away evil spirits and trolls. Thyme herb is sewn on the grooms suit.(source:

20) Traditional Wedding in Italy

Traditional Italain wedding custom, bride and groom on foot going to the churchIn Italy, wedding ceremony must be held on morning, and must be on Sunday. It is a belief among Italians, that they should not leave on Friday or Tuesday for the honeymoon, because it is a bad luck for the newlyweds. But if this is not the first marriage, then Saturday is the best day for the wedding.Tearing the veil is a sign of good luck. The groom should have an iron piece in his pocket to cast away bad spirits. It is a custom for Italian bride and groom to go on foot going to the church or wedding venue. After the wedding. wine glass or vase are thrown to the floor to break it to pieces, and the broken pieces symbolizes the years of happy and peaceful married life. “La borsa”, is a white satin bag where the cash gifts are placed.

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