Cultures around the world have their own unique wedding traditions. In the United States, we see things like tossing a bouquet for good luck and splashing grains of rice down the aisle as normal. But when you think about it, these are pretty weird and wacky things to do! Wedding traditions go back a long way, often so far that most of us don't even remember why we do them. For wedding traditions from around the world, it's no different. Here are a few of the most funny, fun, and interesting:
South Korea: The Groom Takes A Beating
In Korea, there's a wedding tradition in which the bottom of the groom's feet get beaten with a stick by family members. Meanwhile, they pepper him with questions about what kind of husband he'll be. They don't beat him so hard that it actually causes injuries, and is more light-hearted and fun than anything else. Traditionally, however, it was meant as a test of the groom's strength and integrity. Nothing like being beaten with a stick to remind you to treat your new wife properly.
India: Inked Brides
From international brides like Priyanka Chopra, the new wife of Nick Jonas, most of the world knows that Indian brides get inked up with henna-based tattoos before their ceremonies. Known as Mehndi, the tattoos are believed to reduce the wedding stress in addition to carrying the Hindu symbolism of the ornate patterns.
France: The Conjugal Chamber Pot
This one is a real stinker. The tradition goes something like this. the bride and groom are given a chamber pot filled with leftover booze and, oftentimes, leftover wedding food that they have to drink, from the pot, before they go to bed. Wedding guests follow them to their bedroom and cajole them, ensuring the pot is consumed. The purpose of the ritual is to give the newlyweds an extra burst of energy for a successful conjugation. We aren't sure that mixed booze and leftovers are the perfect formula for that, but hey - traditions don't have to make literal sense to be amazing! Don't worry, though -- the chamber pots used in this ritual are always new, and have never been used.
Greece: The Greek Shave
A tradition in Greek weddings is for the best man to shave the groom before the ceremony. Other close friends will help the groom get dressed. It's all a show of solidarity, showing their mutual trust along with their pride for the groom marrying his dream bride. We think it's solemn and cute for the bros to groom the groom before his moment in the spotlight.
Congo: (Don't) Smile for Those In-Laws
In the Congo, the bride and groom are expected to treat their wedding ceremony as a serious affair. Smiling at the wedding is taken as a sign that the duo aren't taking the gravity of marriage seriously. Contrast that with the USA, where bride and groom alike are expected to beam with smiles, and even sometimes fill the wedding with quirky fun like having the groomsmen wear wacky socks. Don't worry for the Congolese, however...the bride and groom can still smile all they want and dance their pants off at the reception!
Philippines: The Doves of Marriage
Personally I don't trust doves, because doves are pigeons, and pigeons are war birds. Nevertheless, they remain a symbol of peace throughout the world. For that reason, they are sometimes presented at weddings. What most couples don't know, however, is that the dove wedding tradition originated in the Philippines. At weddings here, a male and female dove are sometimes presented to the bride and groom. The birds are meant to breing on a harmonious married life for the couple, and are released in unison. This can make for some really cool wedding pictures!
Sweden: Speech! Speech! Speech!
Of course, toasts and other speeches are common at weddings in many cultures. But Swedes take it to the next level, with many speeches that can go on for an extended period. If the wedding isn't planned carefully, the speeches can go on for hours! There's also a tradition where if the bride leaves, the groom gets to peck all the women at the wedding on the cheek, and if the groom leaves, the bride can get her share of kisses. It's all in good fun, of course, but might keep the bride and groom from straying too far from one another during the reception.
China: Tea for Two
Keeping with China's strong devotion to filial piety, the Chinese tea ceremony is a way for the bride and groom to show respect to each side of the new family. After the "respectful offering of tea," as it's known, the bride and groom receive red envelopes with gifts or money to begin their new lives together. The whole affair is very formal, with a specific order of events and a lot of etiquette to be familiar with, and serves as an important display that gets the bride and groom on the right foot with all of their new family members.