Have you ever stopped to wonder how other couples around the world celebrated their most important day? Sure enough, you most likely got your arms too full with all the little details of your own wedding day to even think about other people?s marriages. But simply because you’re too strung out doesn’t mean you can’t put down that huge wedding tick list and see for yourself how others halfway around the globe are faring up. Perhaps you might even get a few ideas.
In modern day China, brides are urged to display their families’ wealth by going through three wardrobe changes in a day. It’s stressful enough to choose, dress and fit in to the right wedding dress for your most important day day, but to go thru the trouble of wearing three? At first, the bride wears what they call a qipao, the traditional silk wedding dress that comes in red to symbolize good luck. The dress is loose-fitting and covers each strip of skin apart from the bride’s face, hands and feet. Next, she changes into a poufy, white, ball-gown style quite like many of the standard Aussie wedding gowns. Then towards the day’s close, she slips into a more comfortable gown or even cocktail dress of her choice.
A wedding and the years that follow aren’t trivial things. The 2 people that are to go through this fateful day have to be positively prepared psychologically and emotionally for their marriage. This explains why the folks over at Scotland have thought up a strategy of getting the bride (and infrequently the groom) psychologically ready for this day–by dousing her in buckets and buckets of rubbish. The Scots call this filthy, messy ritual “blackening the bride” where the bride’s friends catch her off guard and junking all sorts of disgusting stuff on her. It can be rotten eggs, spoilt milk, mud, flour, feather, a mixture of all of these or anything that reminds you of the word “garbage”. It is maintained that the shame the bride goes thru prepares her for the obstacles of wedded life ahead.
While in most other parts of the world, ladies go into an obsessive weight reduction mission to make sure they’re fit and trim enough to slip into their wedding robes, the women of Mauritania scramble to make themselves very , very fat. This is due to the fact that, for men, having fat wives are a signal that they're well off enough to provide her most basic needs. They can’t do with a slim and slender better half, or else their neighbors will think he isn’t making enough to fend for her. Not so fast for women that have given up on trying to be healthy. If you’re a bride in Mauritania, you have to be sent to a wife-fattening farm where you have to eat to 16,000 calories each day. It’s one thing to stop obsessing about self image, but it’s also another thing to keep yourself healthy.
A Russian bride-to-be and her family play hard to get when a man decides to request her hand. Before the wedding occurs, the groom has to go to the bride’s family’s house and officially ask to be betrothed. Naturally, the family refuses and asks the groom to do all sorts of stupid things for them. He is asked to sing, dance and do foolish acts of showing his readiness for marriage, eg putting diapers on a baby doll. If the family still refuses, the groom has to pay a certain amount of money or jewelry to “ransom” his bride. All’s well that ends well, don’t you think?
Chris McCafferty – Celebrants Perth
Chris McCafferty officiates weddings, commitment ceremonies and renewal of vows. He has been fortunate enough to officiate an affirmation of vows at his parents’ recent 50-year wedding anniversary. For more information about Chris and his services, please visit www.celebrantsperth.com.au.
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