Feature: Marriages

Marriages inspire odd traditions the world over

| June 2008

  • UkrainianBread-25p-A.jpg
    WEDDING BREAD: Ukraine weddings feature bread called Korovai, a sacred bread that may include images representing the joining together of the two families.
    Shutterstock.com/Andrey Kozachenko

  • UkrainianBread-25p-A.jpg

Did guests throw rice on your wedding day? Almost all cultures shower the bride and groom with symbolic food to grant luck and fertility to newlyweds. It's just one of the many odd traditions weddings inspire around the globe.

Rowdy behavior

While Americans toss rice, Sicilians fling wheat bread and the English throw cake to ensure fertility. Greeks used to pitch seed-bearing plants, but today they toss almond candy, rice and dates.

Wedding couples aren't always bombarded with food, though. In Ireland, flower petals are thrown, and in gypsy culture, almond blossoms are tossed for good luck.

Many other wedding customs are also said to bring luck. In Australia, the bride sometimes carries a horseshoe - not an actual metal plate (thankfully for her), but a crocheted horseshoe that's tied onto a long ribbon and worn upside down over her arm.

In Germany, a wedding eve party tradition is to break dishes for good luck. Couples in the Ukraine have a similar tradition, called Vatana. At the reception, dishes are broken with silver dollars - ensuring prosperity for the couple. Greeks also follow tradition when they break glasses on their wedding night to ensure a long life as man and wife.

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