Marriage traditions, the strangest rituals around the world

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references

Avoiding seeing the bride before the big day is a ritual to be observed at any cost, there are some traditions around the world that really leave you speechless. In many cultures, weddings are more than just beautiful clothes and plenty of food. From smashing plates in Germany to shooting the bride with a bow and arrow in China, there are some wedding practices that are very unusual. Here are the seven most fascinating traditions from around the world:

  • The blackening

In Scotland, the night before their wedding, the bride and groom are captured by their friends, tied up and "blackened", ie covered in soot, custard, molasses and flour before being taken around the city. It goes without saying that the premarital tradition involves a fair amount of alcohol. While it may not seem exactly like preparing a dream wedding, there is a reason for all this madness. According to Scottish tradition, blackening is supposed to ward off ills before the couple gets married. According to The Scotsman, the ritual still continues today in Orkney, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Fife.

  • Kidnapping of the bride

In Romania there is a practice that elsewhere would lead to arrest. Wedding guests kidnap the bride from their ceremony and hold her hostage in a nearby club or hotel room. Hence, the groom must barter for her return, either with bottles of wine or a public declaration of love. In a world where weddings are largely predictable, a little faux kidnapping sure adds some drama and excitement.

  • Broken dishes

If you are planning to marry a German on his territory, don't waste too much time choosing porcelain models. In a common ritual called Polterabend, guests gather in front of the house of the bride and groom the night before the wedding and destroy dishes, pots and other items. When everything is broken correctly, the event often turns into a small, informal party. Broken dishes should bring luck to the happy couple.

  • Shoe theft

In India, the groom must have cold feet after the wedding. On their wedding night, when the bride and groom enter the room, the man takes off his shoes and leaves them outside the door so that the women of the bride's family can steal them. The groom's family is then tasked with finding the hidden shoes. In case of bankruptcy, the groom must exchange them for money, sweets or other gifts, as he is not allowed to leave without shoes. The theft of the shoe is thought to symbolize the fusion of the two families and is an example of the sharing of life between laughter and fun.

  • Prohibition to use the bathroom

In the Indonesian tribe of Tidong, many honeymooners are forced to stay indoors. It usually happens for three days and three nights, supervised by friends and family. The reason? They can't use the bathroom. Precisely for this reason they eat and drink little to avoid "emergencies". According to tradition, maintaining these restrictions will lead to a happy marriage and healthy children. If, on the other hand, the bathroom is used, the marriage will lead to bad luck, infidelity or the premature death of future children.

  • Cry in advance

For the Chinese people of Tujia, 30 days after the wedding the bride has to cry for an hour every day. Ten days later, her mother joins in and after another ten days it's her grandmother's turn. By the end of the month, every woman in the family is part of this ritual. Common crying is meant to be a show of solidarity and an expression of joy as the bride prepares to start her new life. The bride's inability to shed tears is considered a sign of poor education and could lead to harsh judgment from her community. The ritual was most popular in the early seventeenth century, although it is still practiced by many Tujia families.

  • Shoot the bride with arrows

Some women dream of being pierced by Cupid's arrow, but this is probably not what they had in mind. This tradition of the Chinese Yugar people requires that a groom has to shoot his bride with three arrows, obviously the tip is not sharp and is not dangerous for the health of the woman. Afterward, the groom breaks the bow in half, collects the fallen arrows and breaks those as well. According to custom, this ritual ensures eternal love.

add a comment of Marriage traditions, the strangest rituals around the world
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.