Egyptian Wedding

Egyptian culture is alive with vibrance and taste far surpassed from many other cultures. They have many ancient traditions and their ancient religion has not been lost on the elaborate planning dedicated to any wedding party. Beautiful sculpture, ancient stories of magic, and amazing designs accompany and  traditional Egyptian wedding. The ancient Egyptians were actually the first people who stated marriage laws in the world! They regarded marriage as a civil, and legal relationship. Marriage in ancient Egypt was considered a religious imposition as well as a romantic endeavour. The ancient Egyptian laws organized the relationship between married couples, as well as indicating all rights and duties for the couples. Many of the ancient marriage contracts have been found, and they were registered and signed by three officers, as was the law in long-ago times.

The wife in a traditional Egyptian household was respected greatly, and she had high prestige. Also, the couple had a lot of chances to get to know each other before the engagement; for example, in the temples or at the common feasts. There was a custom in the Egyptian family which allowed the adult daughter to welcome the guests who came to visit her parents. The ancient Egyptians  knew of the engagement before getting married, and its customs were similar to the engagement customs known recently in Egypt. The bride, or fiancee wore the engagement dress which was simpler than the wedding dress. Its color was blue or pink. The groom would put on the finger of his fiancee a ring; the ancient Egyptians believed it was a gift to the old world as well as the new,which was a symbol of immortality. In addition, the groom gave his fiancee the valuable jewelry gift they and their families had agreed on before. During the party, the attendants ate and drank many traditional Egyptian wedding foods. When the house of the new family became ready, the two families arranged the appropriate people for the wedding party. The night before wedding day, the relatives, the friends and the neighbors got together to celebrate “the Henna Night”. The women went to the bride’s house, while the men went to the groom’s house.

At the bride’s house the women danced and sang all night while the bride wore a pink dress made with silk or cotton fibers, and her hands and feet were bleached with henna. Meanwhile, the men danced and sang all night at the groom’s house, and the groom  wear an expensive clean suit. The next day, the marriage contract was signed and registered by priest in the temple in the attendance of the couple and most of their families and friends. Following this, the traditional Egyptian wedding ensured that happiness was present on both sides.

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Japanese Marriage Tradition

Japanese Marriage Tradition

 

Japanese Marriage presents a mixed blend of various customs. In Japan, marriage is an occasion for gathering, fun and frolic. It is practiced with the rituals which represent it as a sacred union of two souls. Once girls and boys are of the age to marry, a search for the suitable match is set. In ancient Japanese myth, all things were created by the marriage of the male and female gods, ‘Izanagi’ and ‘Izanami’, who were basically Japan’s Adam and Eve. According to legend, these two gods came down to primeval earth from the heavens on a rainbow bridge. Out of their union came the islands of Japan, the sun, the moon, the mountains, the trees and the wind.

The Engagement
The engagement is sealed by a ceremony called the ‘yunio’. The highlight of this ceremony is the giving of symbolic gifts wrapped in ornate rice paper. The gifts include: dried cuttlefish, for its phallic shape; kelp or ‘konbu’ because it looks like the character that can be written to mean “child-bearing woman”; a long, linen thread to symbolize the gray hair of old age; and a folded fan which spreads out to show future wealth and growth in numbers.

The Wedding Outfits

The all-white silk wedding kimono dates back to the ‘Edo’ era (1700-1900) and the traditions of the brides of the samurai. White symbolizes both a new beginning and an end, because the bride “dies” as her father’s daughter and is reborn a member of her husband’s family. The bride traditionally wears her hair up, fastened by tortoise-shell combs. A white cloth and veil cover her head, and her face is painted creamy white. The bride changes several times, once to an ornate gold, silver and red robe embroidered with symbols on it such as cranes and flowers, and again to a deep-colored, highly patterned kimono usually reserved for young, unmarried women. This is the last time she will be able to wear this kimono. Irises are a beautiful choice for the Japanese American bride; the color purple is the color of love in Japan and was used at m,any an ancient wedding. The groom wears a black silk kimono with his family crest on it in white, in five different places. Under this kimono is a striped, pleated skirt, or hakama. The man would carry a white folded fan and wore white sandals. Many Japanese Americans still treasure kimonos handed down through the generations. Renting an outfit is quite expensive: One New York store charges upwards of INR 75000 which includes the services of a professional to dress you.

The Ceremony

The traditional Shinto ceremony honors the ‘kami’, the spirits inherent in the natural world. After a purification ceremony using a special branch called the ‘harai-gushi’, the priest calls to the gods to bless the couple. The ceremony ends with a ritual sharing of sake from three flat cups stacked on top of one another. Popularly called ‘san-san-kudo’, this ritual can be performed any number of ways, depending on the family’s customs. The groom may lead, taking three sips from the first cup, followed by the bride, who also takes three sips from the first cup. Then they move on to the second and third cups. The sake is then offered to the couple’s families. In the U.S., Japanese Americans seeking a traditional ceremony turn to the country’s Buddhist traditions. One highlight of the ceremony is the rosary, or ‘o juju’, which has 21 beads of two different colors. Eighteen beads represent the couple, two represent each family, and one represents the Buddha. Joined on one string, the beads symbolize the joining of the families. The san-san-kudo, more cultural than religious, is also performed at the Buddhist ceremony.

The Food

Each dish in the Japanese wedding banquet is a symbolic wish–for happiness, prosperity, long life or many children. For example, ‘konbu’ is served because the word sounds like the last half of the word for joy, yorokobu. Fish can be served with the tail and head forced up from the plate forming a circle, the symbol of eternity. Clams are served with both shells together, the two halves symbolizing the couple. Lobster is often served for its deep red color, the color of luck. The number of courses never equals a multiple of four, since the word for four, ‘shi’, sounds like the word for death. For dessert, a Japanese bride might choose to serve ‘komochi manjyu’, which is made of gummy, sweetened rice with fillings inside.

 

Assyrian Wedding Tradition

Assyrian rituals consist of many different types of elements that have shaped today’s modern rituals for the past 3,000 years. An Assyrian Wedding traditionally lasted a week and consisted of different rituals for each day. Today, weddings in the Assyrian homeland usually last for 2 to 3 days while Assyrian weddings in the diaspora go for 1 or 2 days.
The Blanket Ritual

A week before the Marriage all the women of theneighbourhood and the women in the family go to house of the bride and make her a very big honeymoon blanket. Everybody had to make sure they sewed a bit of that blanket. So the needle would be passed from one woman to the other and this way all the women sewed a bit. The younger women would dance around it and the older women would sing and do the dabke. During the party food and sweets are served, and the party ends when the blanket was done. This ritual is mostly observed by Assyrians in Syria.

The Washing of the Groom

Also referred to as khyapta d’khitna or zyapta d’khitna. Before the wedding all the men in the neighbourhood and the men who are related to the groom go to his house and they cut his hair and shave his face. The groom’s male relatives give a him a good scrubbing from head to toe, cleaning him of evilness. A young boy is usually bathed first, typically by his mother or aunts, then the groom takes a shower or bath afterwards.

m’pulatad’chalo

A tradition symbolic of the bride leaving the home of her parents. Usually the bride is in her home taking pictures with family and the groom’s family visits to take her out of the home and to the church. While in the house, the women sing tradition lilyaneh and dola and zurna is played as they dance. Before the bride leaves the house, the groom’s family makes an offering, usually cash, to the bride’s family and upon acceptance, they head to the church.

Burakha

Is the wedding tradition where the bride and groom are blessed by a priest in a church. The burakha traditionally
lasted about four hours, but more recently the event goes for about one hour. Pins in the shape of two crosses are usually placed on the groom’s back. There are some details during the ceremony that differ from village to village. The Assyrians of the village of Baz are known to have someone poke the groom with a needle to ward off any evil spirits while Assyrian from the village of Tyari make noise with the cutting motion of scissors to ward off evil spirits.
At the end of the burakha as the bride and groom are coming out of the church, dola and zorna is played while rice, candies, and coins are thrown at the bride and groom and people take part in traditional Assyrian dances.

Henna

Henna is mud-like material that is prepared on the day before the wedding. On the wedding night, in the old days all the ladies would gather at the house of the bride (but nowadays it’s mixed, also male relatives and family friends are invited.) A bowl is filled with henna. Henna is celebrated differently throughout the Assyrian community. In some areas, whoever holds the bowl with the henna will dance with it around the others. The groom and bride put in the bowl their little finger and their little finger will be wrapped and connected to each other by a ribbon. In other areas, everyone is given a turn to wrap their finger with henna, and after everyone, the person that is getting henna on their hand starts the chant of praise for the future couple, as everyone else follows along.

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Vietnamese Wedding Tradition

Vietnamese Wedding traditions are still upheld in many parts of the world and Vietnam is not an exception. In Vietnam, apart from the traditions being distinguished, they are also very delicate. The parents arrange most Vietnamese weddings. The engagement of a Vietnamese couple takes place six months prior to the ceremony. The bride and groom’s first meeting takes place during the engagement they are not supposed to meet each other prior to this.

The couple’s parents, under the guidance of a spiritual leader, Buddhist monk, or fortuneteller, set the wedding date.The bride’s dress is the ‘Ao dai’ gown for the ceremony, which usually comes in pink or red. Along with the gown also comes a Khan dong headdress. The attire of the groom is similar to that of the brides but it is the male version, has a simpler design and comes in a blue hue. Prior to the wedding, the groom accompanied by his family visits the family of the bride carrying lacquered, round boxes; betrothal presents. The presents include betel leaves, areca nuts, wines, fruits, cake and tea and so on. Unmarried boys and girls carry the gift covered using red cloth. Three ceremonies are held on the wedding day. The first is to ask for the bride’s hand in marriage. The mother of the groom and other relatives go to the woman’s home and officially asks to receive the bride and tell them what time the groom’s procession will be coming. The mother bears pink chalk to paint a good future and betel nuts, which are a symbol of respect.

Two other ceremonies take place at the homes of the groom and bride successively. After the mother visits the groom then goes to the bride’s home accompanied by relatives carrying leather trunks in pink satin that contain different gifts. The trunks are usually numbered six or eight; seven and nine are unacceptable numbers as they are seen as bad luck numbers. Upon getting to the bride’s house, the groom’s relatives light firecrackers to announce their arrival. The bride’s family also reciprocates with a series of firecrackers. Introductions of the two families then take place.  The groom then produces an entrance fee in a red envelope along with the gifts. The bride is then brought out and her groom is allowed to greet her. The family of the bride along with that of the groom then proceeds to the groom’s home. Customarily, the bride is supposed to walk over hot coals prior to stepping into the groom’s house; a symbol of shunning evil spirits. During the ceremony, guests are served with beverages like tea and all the relevant wedding rites are performed in a southerly direction. Cooked red rice, incense sticks and boiled chicken are put before the people and the Priest is then invited to initiate sacred rituals. The priest prays for blessings for the couple from God and then binds them using red thread entwined round the altar after which the bride and groom are declared married. The reception of the wedding consists of a gala feast, where guests are treated to rice and chicken dishes, as well as many other traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Ukrainian wedding traditions

Ukrainian wedding traditions have a long history. Unfortunately, at the present times, fewer and fewer of ancient wedding customs and traditions take place at a contemporary Ukrainian wedding. However, the most interesting traditions have remained. We will describe a contemporary Ukrainian wedding. So, the wedding ceremony begins 30-40 days before the wedding itself. The bridegroom, his parents and friends must ask the bride’s parents for her hand. The bridegroom’s parents come with a Ukrainian round loaf (homemade, round, big bread beautifully decorated). The round loaf is delivered on an embroidered towel made by the bridegroom’s mother, and on top of the bread there is some salt.
The bridegroom’s father and friends ask for “bride’s hand”. Usually, her father gives an answer, after asking his daughter about her decision, whether she wants to marry the young man or not. If the bride wishes to take this man as her future life partner, the bridegroom’s and bride’s parents discuss the time and place of the wedding party. But if the girl does not wish to marry the guy, she gives him a pumpkin! On the wedding day, dressing a bride is a special ritual. Bride’s friends have been with her since early morning. They put a gown on her, make a hair-do and put on a bridal veil? The bridegroom comes to his bride in a car decorated with flowers, ribbons and balloons. Sometimes, a doll dressed like a bride is placed on the car’s hood. When the car (or cars) comes up to the house of the bride, they start to honk. It means that the bridegroom and his relatives are ready to take the bride, her parents and friends to the church and city hall, to get married and register their marriage. When the bridegroom and bride walk out of the bride’s house, the bride’s mother throws seeds (symbol of wellbeing) onto their heads, as well as roseleaves (symbol of prosperity and health) and coins (symbol of financial stability in a family).

The official registration of marriage in the City Hall starts with the sound of fanfares. A Ukrainian embroidered towel is spread at the feet of the couple, they stand on it and the ceremony begins. In fact, at this place, the bride groom and bride become husband and wife. Exactly, in the City Hall, the long awaited phrase “Zoya, do you agree to take Oleg as your husband, to be with him in sadness and grief, to be faithful until death separates you?” is pronounced. After the ceremony, the spouses receive congratulations from friends and relatives. The “newly-made” husband takes his wife from the City Hall in his arms. The next stage is getting married in church. This is the most touching and important moment to the couple, their parents, friends and relatives. The priest blesses the new family for happiness, health, luck, faithfulness, understanding, love and respect for one another. God’s blessing is the most serious blessing for the new family. There are many prejudices connected with the ceremony in church. They say that if the bride’s dress catches the fire from a candle, it means that the marriage is doomed. So it is quite understandable that the bride’s mother is always very careful in church, and does her best to prevent any of such things. The third stage of celebration is the most joyful, surprising and unexpected things may happen this evening. The party takes place in a restaurant, cafй or at the home of the bridegroom or bride. All the guests come with gifts. In Ukraine, ordinary things can be presents at a wedding, which first of all, will be necessary in a young family: kitchen utensils, linen, home appliances, etc.

The party starts with congratulations from relatives and friends. After each toast, the guests shout “Gorka! Gorka! Gorka!” It means that the guests want to see the married couple kiss one another. One must note that the number of kisses at the wedding, as some bridegrooms have noticed, exceed the number of kisses received throughout the whole period of dating. When the guests have paid enough attention to the married couple, their attention goes to the bride’s and bridegrooms best friends. To be the best friends of the couple at the wedding is a very honorable and responsible task. The bride chooses her best friend (unmarried girl) who helps the bride with all pre-wedding preparations. It is she who puts down her signature in the document certifying the marriage. So, what is the role of the bridegroom’s and the bride’s best friend? They are called “witnesses”. When the guests shout “Gorko” to the witnesses, it means that the guests want to see them kiss, too! At one of international weddings which took place in our city, there was a funny thing. The guests were shouting “Gorko” to the witnesses. The bridegroom’s best friend spoke no Russian, so he was not really paying attention the shouts and continued to enjoy the delicious meal from his plate. When the interpreter explained to him what was required, the guy blushed. Anyway, he did not refuse from a kiss from the bride’s best friend. Later on, at the end of the evening, he asked the guests to shout “Gorko” to the witnesses again.

During the party, dancing is a must. Everybody dances, the guests, the parents, and the newly married couple. But a dance between the bridegroom and his mother-in-law and between the bride and her father-in-law is a must at each Wedding Party. Moreover, the bridegroom must prove that he will take good care not only of his wife, but also of his mother-in-law. In the presence of all the guests, the bridegroom declares that he will also be kind to his mother-in-law, and as a sign of his attention, he presents her with a pair of boots, which he puts on her! However a trial is expecting the bridegroom. It may happen that the bride may be stolen, and the guests will ask the bridegroom to pay 50-500 grivnas (10-100$) for her shoes, or even for the bride herself – even a bigger sum. All guests are sure that the newly married couple will be the happiest family. But it stirs everyone’s curiosity – who will be the head of the family – He or She? National tradition helps to clear up this issue. The newly married are given traditional bread and they try to break it apart. The head of the family will be the person who has got a larger part o

f it left in the hands! This ritual is more like a joke on the wedding party, but as time goes by it becomes obvious that traditional ceremonies are telling truth! At the end of the party the custom of turning the bride into wife takes place. The bride is dancing waltz with all the young, unmarried girls present at the party. This is a sign that every young girl has the right for happiness, family and children. However, which of the present young girls will be the first one to get married depends on who catches the bouquet thrown by the bride backwards, over her left shoulder!

After the bride says “good bye” to her friends (young girls), a bride’s mother’s friend brings the round loaf to the bride and uncovers her bridal veil. Instead, a Ukrainian national kerchief is placed

on her head. A young bride has turned into a married woman! The wedding is over! Long live a new family! .