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Bizarre Age-Old Wedding Customs Followed Even Today

Updated on January 8, 2017

Every culture across the globe celebrates weddings as memorable and joyous occasions steeped in tradition. Along with the imminent ceremony, comes a bunch of rituals that have been followed for generations. Some are simple and fun while others are downright weird yet still entertaining (at least for the wedding guests and family members).

Here are 10 of the lesser known unusual customs that follow the happy union.

10. No restroom breaks for this couple

This unique custom, more like a punishment for the wedded couple, is practiced by the Indonesian Tidong community. The bride and the groom are not allowed to use the bathroom for 3 whole days. Several relatives stand guard over bathrooms so that the ban can be executed successfully. The couple are on a restricted diet and allowed to proceed with their normal life after 3 days only.

Apparently, this uncomfortable ritual is meant to ward off any ill luck that can bring about a broken marriage and infidelity in their marital life.

9. Don’t ‘Say Cheese’ at this wedding

Weddings are full of laughter and joy. In certain tribes from Congo, these ceremonies are solemn and serious affairs. While the wedding guests are enjoying their bit, the bride and the groom do not smile before, during or after the ceremony. The couple are not even allowed to smile for the cameras.

These weddings are supposed to be thoughtful affairs. Bursting into light-hearted laughter or cracking a grin might be considered undignified as it denotes a lack of seriousness. Now, wouldn’t it be fun to crack a joke and watch the couple battle their natural instincts?

8. Fifty shades of ‘Black’?

The roots of the ‘Blackening’ custom is firmly established in Scotland. Believed to be originated from the Scottish ritual called ‘the feet-washing’, this ritual has clearly evolved with the times. In the earlier days, the victims were paraded around town on a cart with their feet and legs blackened and later washed. It has developed into a game where the bride and the groom are captured on the eve of their wedding, covered with treacle, feathers, soot, flour etc. Once appropriately ‘blackened’, they are paraded around down in an open-backed truck.

In other versions of the same custom, the bride is also attacked by boisterous bridesmaids with spoiled food, curdled milk and then taken out for a night of binge drinking. Apparently, this prepares the bride for any humiliation coming her way in her married life.

Originally, the ritual supposedly wards of evil spirits. It is also believed that if the couple can endure stuff being thrown at them together, they will be able to withstand any obstacles life throws at them.

7. Down to earth dancing

Now which wedding does not have its share of feet tapping? Weddings are times to celebrate and that means a lot of dancing.

In Ireland, weddings are lavish affairs and a highlight of the wedding celebrations is when the bride and groom take over the dance floor for their first dance. The bride has to take care to keep both her feet firmly anchored to the ground while dancing.

Apparently, it is not just the groom who covets the beautiful bride. Fairies are an integral part of Irish folklore and they are drawn to the brides as well. It is believed that if both the bride’s feet leave the floor while dancing, she will be swept off and carried away by evil fairies.

6. Stole his what? SHOES!!

Karma - You stole her heart and now we will steal your shoes!

Indian weddings are awe-inspiring occasions of mass entertainment (we are talking about minimum 500-800 people here). Shoe stealing game or ‘Joota Chupai’ is one of the most loved traditions in Indian weddings as it adds spice and fervor to the wedding.

As per custom, the groom removes his shoes when he enters the wedding mandap, which is a covered structure built for the wedding ceremony. It is the job of the groom’s siblings and friends to protect the shoes at all costs. Ladies from the bridal party come up with innovative ways to try and steal the shoes. Once the shoes are stolen, they can be ransomed back for a handsome sum of money that the groom pays to the bride’s entourage as he is not allowed to leave the mandap without the same shoes he came in.

This custom is connected to the prestige of both the families. It is also believed that by paying for the return of the stolen shoes, the groom promises to take care of the girls from the bride’s family as his sisters.

5. Make some noise

Charivari is a folk custom that has been practiced by some communities in France since pagan times.

In the earlier days, this custom was followed to demonstrate disapproval of misconduct or marriages that society frowned upon. Groups mostly led by women would demonstrate at certain pre-decided venues by banging on pots and utensils to make discordant noise.

With the times, the custom evolved as a fun way to embarrass the bride and groom instead on their wedding night. It is meant to disrupt the peace and quiet of the sacred wedding night. The noisy merrymakers are then pacified by snacks offered by the bride and the groom.

4. Shot for love

The Yugur minority group from Northwest China conduct weddings on a grand scale lasting for several days for the rich and the mighty. Their age old tradition demands that the groom shoot 3 arrows at the bride. Thankfully, the arrows do not have arrowheads and are usually made with rubber so that it does not hurt the bride. The bow and arrows are then broken by the groom during the ceremony.

If the custom is followed properly, it is believed that the bride and the groom will live with each other forever and their love is everlasting.

3. The wedding chamber pot

France is a wedding favorite destination for many due to its exotic venues and cuisines. Le pot De Chambre is one of the grosser wedding traditions followed by certain French communities.

Once the bride and the groom retire for the night, the bridal party is left behind to clean up the wedding mess. The task is carried out with the utmost sincerity with the family members collecting leftovers, cake and the like in a toilet bowl. They then barge in to the couple’s bedroom and the couple are forced to eat out of the chamber pot.

The purpose behind the ritual is to provide the married couple with energy and strength before the wedding night. Nowadays, the recipe is just chocolate with champagne and the like. But it is still brown goo from a toilet bowl!

2. Feet beat down

Beating the groom’s feet is a fascinating custom in certain weddings in South Korea. After the wedding, the groom is not allowed to leave the venue with his bride till he has his feet thrashed. It is painful and fun at the same time. The groomsmen carry out this ritual. The groom’s ankles are tied down and he has his shoes and socks taken off. They then take turns beating the soles of his feet with a stick or dried fish.

The sole aim is to test the strength of his character as the groom is quizzed throughout this slightly painful yet amusing tradition. Love is not a bed of roses after all!

1. You may all now kiss the bride

Kissing the bride seals the holy marriage union in many weddings. Sweden however, takes kissing the bride to an entire new level. As a guest, you may be totally in luck as you may get to kiss the bride as well.

Marriages are celebrated a bit differently in Sweden. Unlike many western weddings, the bride and the groom walk down the aisle together in a Swedish wedding, sometimes there is no bridesmaid or groomsman and there are a large number of speeches planned. Amongst other rituals, one amusing and fun tradition is when every man in the room gets to kiss the bride if the groom leaves the room for any reason. At the same time, the ladies line up to kiss the groom if the bride leaves the room even for a bathroom break.

Unique customs aren’t they? If you know any more customs that are weird and yet super fun like these, let me know.


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