1. The Fijians believe that the god Nangganangga, who watches over married couples, will not let a bachelor enter Fijian paradise and will turn him to ash if he dies before he is married.
2. The Penan nomads who live on the island Borneo (southwest of the Philippines) maintain that women do not have a soul until their wedding day.
3. Early Roman brides carried a bunch of herbs, such as garlic and rosemary, under their veils to symbolize fidelity and fertility and to ward off evil. These herbs served as a precursor to the modern bridal bouquet.
4. Because white is the color of mourning in Eastern cultures, white wedding dresses are uncommon.
5. Las Vegas is the top wedding destination with over 100,000 weddings a year, followed by Hawaii at 25,000 weddings a year.
6. The bride’s veil traditionally symbolized her youth and virginity. Veils also hid the bride from jealous spirits or the Evil Eye. In the past, veils could be red, blue or yellow (the color of Hymen, the Greek god of marriage). The modern white veil became popular during the Victorian era as a symbol of purity and modesty. A white veil also connoted that a bride was wealthy enough to wear white.
7. In many cultures, the groom historically often kidnapped the bride, and the groom’s friends would help him, leading to the modern-day groomsmen. At the alter, the groom always stood on the bride’s right side so his right hand—or his sword hand—would be free to fight/defend a jealous rival.
8. A wedding cake is traditionally a symbol of good luck and fertility and has been a part of wedding celebrations since Roman times, when a small bun, symbolizing fertility, was broken above the bride’s head at the close of the ceremony. During the Middle Ages, custom required the bride and groom to kiss over small cakes.
9. The phrase “tying the knot” initially came from an ancient Babylonian custom in which threads from the clothes of both the bride and bridegroom were tied in a knot to symbolize the couple’s union. Literally tying some type of ceremonial knot at a wedding ceremony can be found across cultures.
10. Pope Innocent III (1160/1-1216) declared that a waiting period should be observed between betrothal and marriage, which led to separate engagement and wedding rings. The first recorded account of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when King Maximilian I of Germany (1459-1519) proposed to Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482) and offered her a diamond to seal his vow.
11. The Ozark people located in central America believed placing the dried tongue of a turtle dove in a loved one’s house would persuade him or her to marry.
12. Bedouin girls will often begin to sew their wedding dresses when they turn nine years old and so that they will finish their gown before they marry at the age of fourteen or fifteen.
13. All over the world, there is a long tradition of mock battles to keep the groom away from the bride on their wedding day. For example, in Thailand, a groom often will find the entrance of the bride’s house roped off until he offers money to get through. In some nomadic tribes in Central Asia, a groom and his party would pursue his bride on horseback—as she was riding away carrying a newly slaughtered lamb.
14. In Egypt, women will pinch the bride to bring good luck to those who pinched her.
15. In present-day Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan, a girl who loses her virginity before marriage may be punished or murdered along with her lover by the males of her own family.
16. Some tribes in central Asia held that a bride’s hymen should be broken not by her husband, but by her maternal grandfather. If he was not willing or alive, a cousin from her mother’s side was responsible to perform the task.
17. Eskimos would bring their brides to a priest for divine unflowering.
18. Some scholars claim the word “honeymoon” comes from the Teutonic custom when newlyweds would hide out and drink hydromel (a fermented honey and water mixture) for 30 days until the moon waned.
19. The busiest wedding days in the United States, in order of popularity, are Saturday afternoon, Saturday morning, Friday evening, and Sunday afternoon. A late afternoon or early evening wedding is generally more expensive than an earlier wedding.
20. The top 10 “First Dance” songs in the U.S. include “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Come Away with Me,” Unforgettable,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “From This Moment On,” “This I Promise You,” “Thank You For Loving Me,” “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” and “All I Ask of You.
21. In several countries, including Germany and Greece, the bride attempts to cover her new husband’s foot while dancing in order to establish dominance.
22. A double wedding is traditionally considered bad luck because it’s too much happiness for evil demons to overlook.
23. In Bali, a bride holds a cloth in front of the groom, who strikes it through with a dagger, in a display of obvious symbolism.
24. During a Javanese wedding celebration, the couple takes three rolled-up betel leaves each and throws them at one another for good luck.
25. “Matrimony” is from the Latin matrimonium, from matrem (“mother”) + monium(“action, state, condition”).
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