23 Wedding Traditions From Around The World
Weddings are a time to celebrate love and commitment between two people. Every culture has its own set of unique traditions, rituals, and customs when it comes to organizing and attending a wedding. These traditions can turn a beautiful day into an unforgettable one. From the wedding attire to the food and music, these traditions offer us a glimpse into the rich cultures from around the world.
There are wedding traditions from around the world that we love and would like to share. These wedding traditions have been passed down from generation to generation and are being observed today.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a bride or groom-to-be, a wedding planner, or simply a curious reader, join us on this journey to discover the beauty and diversity of global wedding customs.
Wedding traditions from around the world
1. India: Henna Ceremony
Did you know the beautiful henna designs we love to get? This is known as the Mehndi which means “hand painting” and it’s also a wedding ceremony in India. The ceremony takes place a day or two before the wedding. The bride and friends of the bride apply beautiful henna designs on their hands and feet by a henna artist. The designs are usually flowery and are thought to bring good luck to the bride. Often times the groom’s name is hidden in the design.
2. China: Tea Ceremony
Tea plays an important role in weddings for Chinese people. It is a way for the couple to show respect to their parent for their care and support. The tea is brewed in a traditional clay pot and handed over to the couples in small teacups. During the wedding ceremony, the couple is required to kneel and serve their parents with both hands, this is important as it marks the point when both members become relatives. In return, the parents accept and offer the couple gifts as a sign of blessing. The tea symbolizes love, trust, and expectation of a happy married life
3. Japan: Tsunokakushi
As far as traditional attire goes, Japanese people are quite exquisite with it. On the wedding day, a Japanese couple will have a Shinto wedding; which is a small-size traditional wedding involving the couple’s family and close relatives. The bride wears white silk that is meant to cover their hairstyle from the head to toe. The Tsunokakushi is made up of a long veil that covers the bride’s face, this symbolizes that the bride has pure intentions. On the day of the wedding, the groom lifts the veil as a significant gesture that the bride is accepted.
4. South Korea: Pyebaek Ceremony
This is a South Korean custom ceremony that is held after the official wedding. This is one of the most important and mostly enjoyed by the guests. This ceremony is an intimate ceremony for the bride and groom’s parents to formally meet themselves and it also signifies a moment when the bride would walk into the home of the groom and they become one, living together. This ceremony is accompanied by Korean historical traditions like formal bowing and a tea ceremony.
5. Indonesia: Rain Of Rice
Did you know that Indonesian weddings are famous for couples getting showered with rice? During the wedding reception, a traditional ritual is carried out where the guests throw handfuls of rice at the couple accompanied by music, and sometimes the rice is mixed with coins or flower petals. The rice symbolizes fertility, wealth, and abundance and it’s believed to bring the couple good tiding as they head to their new home.
6. Malaysia: Akad Nikah
Malaysian weddings are joyous, filled with food and good music. One of the wedding traditions observed by more than half of the Malaysian population is the Akad Nikah ceremony. This is a private ceremony between the couple, their parent, their close relative, and a wali, who is considered a religious teacher. During the ceremony, the wali recites a prayer from the Quran, and from there the couple signs some document that legitimizes that they are married. This ceremony is sealed with an exchange of gifts from the groom to the bride.
7. Pakistan: Walima
The word Walima is a term gotten from the Arabic word “Walam” which means to gather. The Walima is a traditional ceremony held after the main wedding. The purpose of this ceremony is to allow the groom properly introduce the bride to their family. The couple is expected to dress in formal attire as this ceremony is a formal event. The Walima is an important part of Pakistani weddings as it presents the groom’s family to the bride’s family and the opportunity to celebrate and welcome the bride to their family. This ceremony is accompanied by food and music.
8. Iran: Sofreh Aghd
The Sofreh Aghd is an important part of the Iranian wedding tradition. Sofreh Aghd can be translated to mean “wedding spread” or “wedding table”. This is a wedding tradition where there is a spread on the floor or a table and symbolic items are placed on it. Items such as a mirror symbolize light, a holy book which signifies spirituality, candles represent clarity of mind during the couple’s life together, gold coins symbolize wealth, and eggs represent fertility. Items such as spices, sugar cones, sweets, and honey are also placed on the Sofreh Aghd. The couple sits in front of the Sofreh Aghd and exchanges their vows.
9. Turkey: Money Dance
One tradition that is still upheld now in Turkey is the money dance. This wedding tradition dates back to the early 20th century. The Money Dance or Pin Dance happens during the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom are called out and made to dance, as they dance friends and family pin money to their bride and groom’s clothing as a sign of gift.
10. Scotland: Handfasting
Handfasting is considered a proper Celtic tradition that signifies a form of commitment between the couple. This ceremony dates back to 7000 BC and many couples observe this tradition today. The hands of the couple are clasped together and a cord is wrapped around their hands, tying them together. They go ahead and recite their vows while still maintaining this position. the length of time varies from 15 and 40 minutes. Handfasting is still a popular wedding tradition in Scotland as it symbolizes the bonding of two lives.
11. South Africa: Lobola
South African weddings are always colorful and vibrant filled with food and drinks. The practice of Lobola, also known as “bride price” is an ancient wedding tradition that is well known in South Africa. The groom goes with his family to the bride’s house with a sum of money, gifts, and livestock as a way to show respect and gratitude to the family of the bride. The wedding can only proceed if the family accepts the gifts brought by the groom. South Africans see this as an important part of their culture and practice.
12. Kenya: Cow Thigh
In Kenya, after the bride has agreed to marry the groom and they’re underway with their wedding preparations, a cow thigh is sent to the bride’s family from the groom as a gift. This traditional gesture symbolizes wealth and also means that the groom can provide for the bride. This is also a way to show respect to the bride’s family. During the wedding, the cow thigh is roasted on an open fire until it’s tender and it’s served as part of the wedding dish.
13. Mexico: Lazo
Weddings in Mexico are mostly influenced by their culture and catholicism. One of the most significant wedding traditions is the “Lazo”. A Lazo is a decorative rosary that is placed around the couple’s neck while they stand facing each other. The rope or rosary symbolizes the unbreakable bond between them. The Lazo is worn throughout the entirety of the wedding day. Some couples even go as far as keeping and cherishing the Lazo.
14. Brazil: Gravata Do Noivo
It is a tradition in Brazil to cut the tie of the groom into small pieces and sell it to the guests. This is called a “gravata do noivo”. The cutting is done by the bride who uses scissors to cut the tie into smaller pieces. The pieces are then auctioned to the guests and the proceeds are given to the couple to help them on their honeymoon
15. Peru: Las Arras
Las Arras also known as the “coin ceremony” is regarded as one of the most significant wedding traditions in Peru. The groom presents thirteen coins, and the presiding priest prays over them on the wedding day. The coins are handed to the bride one by one by the groom while reciting certain vows to the bride. Each coin represents something. The thirteen coins symbolize the groom’s commitment and love for the bride. The coin ceremony is a beautiful wedding tradition that reflects the importance of commitment in marriages.
16. Ghana: Opon-akyi Bo
The “Opon-akyi bo” can also be called “Knocking on the door” and is one of the most famous wedding traditions in Ghana. The groom goes over to the bride’s house with their family and friends to formally “knock” on the bride’s door. This is to declare their intention that the groom is coming to ask for the bride’s hand in marriage. This ceremony is accompanied by drinks, food, and other edible items because it is considered taboo to come ”knock” empty-handed.
17. Egypt: Zaffa
Egypt has a lot of beautiful wedding traditions and one of them is Zaffa. This is a wedding procession where a celebration event is held to announce to the community that a newly wedded couple is in town, this is done to bring them good luck. This procession moves through the street with loud musicians and drummers playing lively music.
18. Nigeria: Introduction Ceremony
The introduction ceremony is a wedding tradition that is entrenched in Nigerian culture. This is an event where the two families are formally introduced to each other and this is done at the bride’s home. The groom’s family comes with gifts for the bride and the family. The dowry and wedding dates are discussed during the introduction as other important details about the wedding.
19. Ethiopia: Meles
After the wedding, a celebration is held in honor of the bride. The couples dress up in traditional attire called Kaba for this event. During the event, the parents of the newly wedded couple perform a bread-cutting ritual. After this is done, the bride’s mother gives the bride a nickname that will always be remembered by everybody.
20. Ireland: One Foot On The Floor
Did you know that in Ireland, during the first dance between the bride and groom, one thing must not happen? The bride must keep at least one foot on the floor at all times. This is an ancient wedding tradition that is still being upheld today in Ireland. It is believed that once the bride both feet are not on the ground, this would attract evil faires into the marriage.
21. Morocco: The Hammam
The Hammam is a traditional Moroccan bathhouse. Before the wedding, the bride and the groom visit a Hamman so that they can be washed and made pure as they prepare for their wedding. Usually, the Hammam is followed by an evening of music, drinks, and food. This tradition plays an important role in a Moroccan wedding experience.
22. United States: Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties
Bachelor/bachelorette parties are popular amongst Americans. This is a traditional pre-wedding party celebration for the groom and bride and it is done separately. The aim of this party is for the bride and groom to celebrate their last moment of singlehood with their close friends.
23. Italy: La Serenata
Imagine you’re the bride and the evening before your wedding you see your partner standing outside your window, signing a love song for you. This is the exact Italian experience a night before a wedding and this is a well-known wedding tradition. La Serenata is often a surprise for the bride and the friends of the groom usually help to make this happen.
Even though cultures all over the world have developed their unique wedding traditions, there is one theme that runs across all of them: the importance of love, community, family, and friendship. Finally, weddings are a beautiful way to be reminded of the common bond that ties all of us together.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. For more information like this, follow us on LinkedIn and let’s stay connected.