Saying “I Do” Around the World

How Other Religions and Cultures Celebrate Marriage

By: Carlos Glick

Just one kiss can change your life forever. Credit: Buzzfeed

The question that is probably on most people’s minds is “How do people celebrate weddings around the world?” Let’s dive in and find out. 

According to North West Brides, there are six different types of wedding ceremonies: religious ceremonies, interfaith ceremonies, non-denominational ceremonies, civil ceremony, humanist ceremony (which probably half the population has never heard of) and last but not least same sex weddings. 

What I’m going to focus on is religious ceremonies.

According to Emily Post, there are five different types of religious wedding ceremonies. These include “Muslim weddings, Hindu weddings, Jewish weddings, Latin America weddings and The Buddhist wedding.” 

One that is not listed but should definitely be mentioned is Christian weddings. 

In Muslim weddings, traditions are seen most prominently in the Middle East and Indonesia. Traditions will differ depending on culture, Islamic sect and observations of gender separation rules. 

Days before the ceremony, henna parties are held for the bride and her closest female friends and family members. Henna not only adorns the bride but protects her as well. 

Similarly to the bride, male friends and family of both the bride and groom will meet at a mosque on the Friday after the proposal. A ceremony called a fatha is then performed. 

In Hindu weddings, the Indian culture celebrates marriage as a sacrament or a sanskara, which is seen as a ritual that enables two individuals to start their journey together. 

The Hindu wedding emphasizes three essential values: happiness, harmony and growth. A few months prior to the wedding ceremony, an engagement party known as a Mangi is held. 

This serves as a time to bless the couple and give them gifts of jewelry and clothing. The day before the wedding, another party is held for the bride and her friends. This party is known as a Mehndi party.

 The Mehndi represents the strength of love in a marriage and the darker the color, the stronger the love is. 

The Jewish wedding is one rich in tradition and symbolism. The wedding day is considered to be the bride and groom’s own Yom Kippur and they will both fast for the whole day. 

The day focuses on the couple’s commitment to each other and to the Jewish faith. The bride and groom do not see each other for one week before the wedding day. 

Prior to the ceremony is a time called Kabbalat Panim, which is a time when the bride and groom greet guests separately. The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom break a plate together to symbolize the couple’s commitment. 

Another ceremony known as the Badeken is held. This is where the groom and his family cover the bride’s face with a veil, which symbolizes his commitment to clothe and protect his wife. 

A Latin American wedding will differ greatly depending on which Spanish speaking country the traditions are based in. Many weddings have a heavy Catholic influence. 

Many are involved in paying the expenses. In some traditions, a bridesmaid and groomsman are paired and assigned a specific portion of the wedding to pay for. 

A large rosary is symbolically draped around the necks of the bride and groom. The couple wears it for the remainder of the ceremony. This affirms their unity and commitment. 

Blessed by the priest, the groom gives the bride 13 gold coins. This represents Christ and his 12 apostles. The “money dance” is held at the reception where guests pay to dance with the bride. 

A Buddhist wedding would differ based on the couple’s focus: Buddha, Dharma, nature, God, or creation. The ceremony is not focused on religion, but rather the couple’s promise to live a harmonious and spiritual life. 

A traditional betrothal ceremony called a Chessian might be held to celebrate the wedding. The ceremony will focus on meditation and moments of silence.

All of the religious and cultural wedding traditions mentioned typically end in the words, “till death do ye part.” However, I can’t discuss the details of a Mormon wedding because it is performed in a sacred holy temple and only people with a valid temple recommendation are allowed inside.  

What is done in a Mormon temple must be kept secret and the ceremony ends with the words “for time and all eternity.”  

There are so many ways to celebrate your special day.


Categories: Lifestyles

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