Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Way, Your Way

So many days we sit and watch shows like Who’s Wedding Is It, Anyway? on Style or Four Weddings on TLC and see the distinctive customs and traditions performed at weddings. But where does it come from and what does it mean?

We curious Gracious Bridal experts decided to highlight just a few of these historic and fascinating wedding traditions.

Jumping the Broom
At the end of the wedding ceremony, it is African American tradition to jump over a broom with your new husband or wife. With much debate on the exact origin, it is commonly agreed that it has roots in West Africa. In America’s southern region, it was common lore that whoever jumped the highest determined who would be the decision maker in the household. For Southern Africans, it represented the wife’s commitment to clean, while in England it became synonymous with irregular/non-church unions. During slavery times, African American marriages were not legalized, so the act of jumping the broom, either together or separate became symbolic of the new couple’s marriage.
Jumping the broom!
“Mazel Tov!” Crushing Glass To finalize Jewish wedding ceremonies, the groom stomps on a glass and the guests yell, “Mazel Tov!” or “Siman Tov!”. As with most traditions, it gets kind of muddy when it comes to interpretations and origins of the tradition. Historically, the ritual symbolizes the destruction of The Holy Temple in Jerusalem. For those more superstitious, the loud noise is thought to drive away evil spirits. Other interpretations include the breaking of the glass is a reminder that even in times of happiness, there will be sadness; the broken glass is forever changed, just as the couple is by marriage; or that the couple’s happiness or children should be a plentiful as the shards of glass. Some couples even choose to save the glass from the ceremony in a symbolic box.

Mazel Tov!
Breaking of the Coconut Breaking a coconut before starting any new undertaking is a Hindu ritual. Smashing of the coconut is symbolic of destroying the ego and being humble before God. The priest will sometimes place a coconut under the tire, before the wedding party departs to the Hindu temple. During the times when the bride and groom were carried by horse-drawn carriage, the breaking of the coconut demonstrated the road-worthiness of the horse and carriage.

A modern twist on Breaking the Coconut
No tradition ever has a concrete origin or interpretation so choosing a meaning that resonates with you and it will make you big day even that more special!

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