Ancient Wedding Traditions from around the World
As empires throughout history have risen and fallen so have our spiritual beliefs, our clothing, transportation methods and languages, but there are certain elements that remain the same in the evolution of civilization. Marriage is one of them.
In one form or another, weddings have existed in every major society throughout history. Some of these traditions may seem crazy to our contemporary standards. For example, did you know that Spartan brides had to dress up as men the evening before their wedding? Bellow you’ll find a list of some of the most curious ancient wedding traditions from around the world.
The charivari (also known as chivaree or shivaree) is an old tradition that started in the middle ages. It goes as follows, friends of the bride and groom would go to the couple’s house on the first night as a married and make a fuss. Eventually, it would get so loud that the couple had no option, but to receive the unannounced visit and give them something to drink. This tradition is still practiced in France.
There was an actual law in ancient Rome that required 10 people to dress like the bride and groom on the wedding day. This was believed to confuse any evil spirit who might have wanted to curse the couple. A theory suggests that this started the tradition of having bridesmaids and groomsmen dress in the same way.
Brides in Sparta were required to shave their heads and dress as men before their future husbands kidnapped them.
Back in the 17th century, Scottish grooms gave their brides a brooch called the Luckenbooth as a sign of their love. The pin represented a crowned heart or two intertwined hearts made out of silver. It was also given to new mothers and babies to protect them from the evil eye. The brooch is still popular today.
Irish men used to give their future wives a bracelet woven out of human hair. The bracelet was a symbol of their everlasting connection.
In some parts of this Asian country, people did not wear wedding rings on their fingers; instead they wore them on their toes. The rings were inserted on the second toe of each foot. Some men also wore them on their big toes.
Ancient Greeks had a three-day long wedding celebration. The first day was called Proaulia and it was when women spent their last day with their female relatives preparing for the wedding. The second day was called Gamos, which was the actual marriage ritual. It started with the sacrifice of an animal to the gods. And then the last day was called Epaulia, a celebration similar to current bridal showers.
Yunnan Province, China
For the Lahu people, the society of this Chinese province, was common place to be bald. In fact, the only people who were allowed to have hair were single girls. After the wedding was celebrated, the women’s heads were completely shaved leaving only one lock of hair behind. The lock was referred to as hunmao or “hair of the soul”. Nowadays this ritual is rarely practiced.