Asian Wedding Traditions
Asian cultures have very different wedding traditions than most western cultures do. The choice to marry, in and of itself, is not taken lightly, and during the course of the ceremony itself, there are certain rites and rituals that are included depending on which culture the bride and groom come from and how strictly they adhere to traditions.
Couples today are increasingly choosing to include Asian wedding traditions from the ancestry of both the bride and the groom, and that often includes Asian wedding traditions. Here are just a few of the most common.
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Most Japanese weddings take place in a Shinto shrine. Certain dates have special meaning, so it is important that the couple pick a day that is destined for goodness. The bride arrives, head to toe, in white makeup to symbolize her maidenhood. She also wears a white kimono with a hood.
Additionally, an elaborate headpiece is included. The two families—not just the bride and groom—are being joined together. To symbolize this, the families, not the bride and groom, face each other at the ceremony. Two beads will be woven together to symbolize the union as part of the ceremony.
At the wedding reception, the bride will change into a red kimono, and then again later into an elaborate wedding gown. The families of the bride and groom end the festivities by giving small presents to each guest.
Weddings in Indonesia
An engagement in Indonesia can last for several years, so it’s not surprising that when the big day finally arrives, Indonesian weddings are lengthy events. Often more than 1,000 people are included on the guest list. It is considered a snub to be invited and not show up.
The festivities usually stretch across several days. The bride and groom are required to remain in the receiving line until every guest has come through!
Part of the pre-wedding preparations in Korea includes a visit to the engaged couple by a fortune teller. This ritual is designed to alert the families to what could be an unhappy union. The fortune teller must disclose his findings, and if it is discovered that the pair is a mismatch, they must not marry.
If the couple passes the test, the groom will give the bride’s mother a goose to symbolize his lifelong care of her daughter (geese mate for life!).
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Weddings in China
Red is the prominent color for the Chinese wedding. The bride wears red for luck and the homes of both the bride and groom are decorated in red. The bride will emerge in a richly ornate gown embroidered with symbols of wealth and happiness and a prosperous future.
The groom’s attire will include a dragon symbol. A wedding is a truly festive event and just to be sure it stays that way, firecrackers are set off to ward off any evil that might be lurking. The ceremony is usually for close family only, and the only formal ritual at the reception is the cutting of the cake.
The layers of the cake are to represent the ladder the couple will climb together over the years. The couple also ties a glass of wine with a red ribbon to a glass of honey to symbolize their union.
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Weddings in India
Much like the American tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony, Indian brides are not allowed to see their grooms for days before the ceremony itself.
When they finally do get together, Hindu brides and grooms are treated to a footbath of milk and water compliments of the bride’s family. This is meant to purify them for their life together.
An Indian bride wears a red or pink saris and as much jewelry as possible. Her hands are painted with elaborate henna designs and, to signify her status change from girl to married woman, the groom gives her an ornate necklace. Guests throw cooked rice at the couple, unlike the raw rice Americans use, as a tribute to the fertility of the couple.
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