#ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage – traditions! It’s hard to avoid discussing the most popular wedding and divorce this Wedding Wednesday, but we wanted to focus on something a little more inspiring than a 72-day sham of a marriage: the roots of weddings. Some wedding traditions have been going on for thousands of years and are rich in history, which is why they are included during modern ceremonies. Here in America we may have our own wedding traditions that many couples choose to embrace, such as the tossing of the bouquet and throwing rice as the newlyweds leave. But there are many unique traditions around the world for different religions and cultures, and all quite fascinating too! Let’s take a little tour…

Mehndi

This past weekend I attended a friend’s wedding, which was a traditional Muslim wedding. My friend’s hands and feet were decorated in elaborate henna patterns called mehndi before her wedding. It can take several hours so brides will host a mehndi party with close guests. During the wedding ceremony she’ll also be covered ornately in jewels. Very glamorous!

Jumping the Broom

Jumping the broom is done as an act of remembrance and to honor the ancestors of the past. It is often compared to the Jewish wedding ritual of crushing a glass for the destruction of the temple. A broom itself represents cleanliness, the hearth, and family, and represents a leap of faith into marriage. The couple concludes their ceremony with a jump over the broom, taking a leap of faith into their marriage and new lives as husband and wife!

Breaking Glass

During a traditional Jewish wedding, after the bride and groom drinks from the second cup, the groom breaks the glass with his right foot. This tradition may hold different meanings, such as a symbol of the breaking of our hearts in remembrance of the Holy Temple or our that joy is must always be tempered. It also concludes the ceremony so all the guests shout “Mazel Tov!”

Red Wedding Dress

In China, red is a strong and lucky color. Brides will wear the traditional qipao or cheongsam, an embroidered, slim-fitting frock that’s usually made of silk. The bride might swap into a white ball gown that wouldn’t look out of place at an American wedding as a nod to the popularity of Western trends.

Baby Bridesmaids

Royal Weddings in the UK invite baby bridesmaids down the aisle rather than friends their own age. Kate Middleton had some of the youngest bridesmaids seen in a royal wedding – they were just 3 years old!

Pulling of the Cake

In Peru, the single female will take part in the pulling of the cake before it gets cut. Charms are attached to cintas de torta (cake ribbons), each woman grabs a ribbon and pulls. The woman who picks the ribbon with the ring is said to be next in line for marriage.

Animal Sacrifice

Traditional Zulu weddings, originating from Zululand in South Africa, has the groom’s family slaughter a cow to welcome the bride. The bride places money inside the stomach of the cow while the wedding guests watch. This symbolizes that she is now part of the family.

Zaffe

The zaffe is a modern wedding Lebanese tradition, where a group of dancers performs in anticipation of the couple’s entry and help make it over-the-top. This can either be a traditional Lebanese zaffe of dabke or belly-dancing, or it can be something with a twist to reflect the couple.

Ransom of the Bride

Don’t be alarmed by the title! Russian grooms have to work for their brides. Before their wedding, the groom will arrive but before he can see her friends and family will refuse him until he pays up.  Grooms must perform silly dances, answer riddles, and perform goofy tests like diapering a baby doll or drinking an awful concoction. Once the groom impresses friends and family with this bridal ransom, or vykup nevesty, he’s allowed to see his bride-to-be.

Tell us: What cool, unique wedding traditions did you follow at your wedding?