By Rashim Nabanja
About a month ago, photos of a woman that looked sad and crying on her wedding day made rounds on social media. Everybody wondered why the bride was actually this sad yet it was her big day. Some speculated it was a forced and arranged marriage that the bride had no choice but to get into.
A few days later, another picture of the same bride surfaced on the internet and this time round, she was happy and smiling as she stood next to her husband in her wedding gown. Many people on the internet, especially those from the western part of Uganda came out to clarify that the bride wasn’t crying because she was forced. It was however an act that is part of culture and tradition.
Janet Uwamahoro, a Rwandan raised in Uganda says that this is indeed part of their culture. According to her, a bride that is sad and seen shedding tears is a sign that you are a good and innocentwoman who also values her customs and norms.
Aside from this, the world is full of interesting wedding traditions that will leave you shocked or laughing your head off. Here are some of them.
Armenia: Balancing bread
In Armenia, a nation in the mountainous region between Asia and Europe, one of the traditions performed is breaking a plate, as well as well as balancing bread on the bride and groom’s shoulders, as a way of keeping evil spirits away from their marriage.
As soon as the bride and groom step in for their wedding reception at the groom’s house, they have to break a plate for good luck. The groom’s mother will then give “lavash”, a flat kind of bread to the couple so that they can balance it on their shoulders to avoid being hit by evil.
The couple is also given spoonfuls of honey to eat so as to symbolize happiness and then the reception party will begin.
Fiji: The whales tooth
You know how in Buganda the groom needs to present the mutalo to the bride’s father as he asks for the bride’s hand in marriage? Imagine if you had to hand over a fresh leopard’s skin in order to get the girl of your dreams. Well, it doesn’t get that dramatic but it is still quite fascinating.
In Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, as a groom asks for a girl’s hand in marriage, he has to present the tooth of a whale to his future father–in–law.
Indonesia: No bathroom break
When you hear that a newlywed couple will take a few days to themselves and stay indoors of their new home together, it sounds romantic and all, until you get to know why the Tidong tribe inIndonesia do it.
The bride and groom stay locked in their house for the first three days of their marriage and in the process, there is no going to the bathroom.
To them, this is to strengthen their bond and to prevent bad luck such as death of young children or infidelity.
Russia: Battle for a family head title
In many traditions and cultures, it is known that a man is automatically the head of the family. However, in Russia, you need to earn the title or lose it, and this is how.
On the day of the wedding, the couple share a sweet bread called Karavay.
Whoever takes the biggest bite without using their hands is then considered to be the head of the family.
Another custom in Russia is to either show your worth as groom or humiliate yourself in front of the family members. Wondering how this is done? On the morning of the wedding day, a groom goes to the bride’s parent’s house and pays ransom for the bride. He can also choose to shower her family members with gifts. If he fails to do this, he will then have to sing and dance in front of the family members until they have had enough.
Ireland: Foot to the ground
Are you one that would love to dance your feet off and entertain your guests as a bride? Then in Ireland you would have to watch your feet well. In this country, as the music plays and the newly wedded couple get their groove on, the bride must make sure that as she dances, she does not move both feet off the ground at the same time. If not, they believe that evil fairies will come and sweep her away.
China: The crying females
In China, brides that come from the Wuling Mountains known as Tujia people take tears of joy pretty seriously.
One month before the wedding, the bride must start to cry for an hour every day. Ten days later, the mother of the bride will join her and they will each cry an hour every day. Another 10 days after that, the grandmother joins in and by the end of the month, every female will have cried alongside with the bride. On top of this, they need to cry in different tones.
This to them is believed to be an expression of joy.
Different cultures have different customs that they believe should accompany a wedding. However although some cultures still take them seriously, the world has evolved and some have moved on to the modern way of celebrating weddings.