In the UK, most wedding ceremonies are based on Christian traditions, and we are no doubt all familiar with the white dress, confetti, vows, and the cutting of the cake that takes place at weddings throughout the UK. As the world becomes a more multicultural place, we get more and more of a chance to get a glimpse into cultures other than our own and become familiar with the customs of other countries and religions.
In this article, we thought we’d take a quick look at some of the wedding traditions that you will find across Asia.
In India, the wedding celebrations last for days, with many different rituals and ceremonies. There is an engagement ceremony in which the bride and groom exchange rings and the families will exchange gifts and sweets, and the bride will hold a Mehendi Ceremony at her home, where her hands, feet, and limbs will be decorated.
The wedding parties are much larger than those in the west, as it is a chance to show off the wealth and generosity of the bride’s family, so typically they will invite as many people as they can afford to, which is usually a few hundred guests.
We spoke to Sonas Couture who specialise in Asian and Indian bridal clothing who told us “on the big day itself, traditionally the bride will wear red. This is to symbolise prosperity and fertility.“
In Japan, the traditional ceremony today is Shinty-style, and is performed by a Shinto priest, and held in a shrine. There are many rituals that join the two families together as well as the two families, and the most popular tradition is the exchanging of nuptial cups, which is called san san ku do.
The bride and groom each drink sake three times, from three different-sized cups called sakazuki, and the exchanging of the cups symbolises the exchanging of their marriage vows. Their parents will then also take sips to symbolise the two families joining together.
This is just one of the rituals involved in a Japanese wedding, and you can read more about the traditions in this article from Manhattan Bride.
In China today, many of the ancient practices and rituals are still an important part of modern weddings. From making sure that the wedding date has been carefully chosen with the help of the Chinese calendar, a Chinese monk, or fortune teller to aide the success of the marriage.
One of the most important wedding traditions in Chinese weddings is the Chinese tea ceremony, which is a time where the bride and groom pay respect to their parents. The couple first serve tea to the bride’s parents, and then the rest of the bride’s relatives, and then do the same for the groom’s parents and relatives to show their gratitude for their lives so far.
Other traditions include installing the bridal bed, which must be done by someone of good fortune, a hair combing ceremony which symbolises the bride and groom coming of age, and a special visit to the bride’s family after the wedding. You can read more about these traditions here.