Marriage is the fusion of two individuals, their families and their cultures too. The wife and husband bring together their traditions and customs, either similar or different. The act of marriage is a commitment between the couple to share their love and happiness together, to care each other for the rest of the life. Depending on the religion and region, the wedding customs and traditions vary. These customs have evolved over time reflecting the change in the society, belief in the customs and the understanding of them. But, certain traditions are considered sacrosanct and have not undergone any change. Wedding customs vary very differently among different religions which underscore the deep differences in their beliefs. These beliefs are linked, either directly or indirectly, to the religious beliefs.
Contrasting customs and wedding traditions
Wedding ceremonies, and the pre wedding ceremonies, differ among different nationalities, religions etc. Catholic weddings, Asian weddings, Jewish weddings, Muslim weddings etc. are uniquely different in their traditions. For example, marriage vows is one of the common element in many cultures, but not in all cultures. Also, the actual implementation procedures and ceremony varies in those cultures.
Another custom which uniquely differentiates all the cultures is the wedding garments used during marriage ceremony. For example, Indian wedding garments are heavy and colourful, whereas the bride in Christian wedding wears a gown which is mostly white in colour.
Changing traditions signifying changing times
Of late, many traditions and beliefs are being ignored by the modern generations either because lack of the reasons behind the traditions or not knowing them at all. Some of the changes observed which explain their position in modern weddings are –
- The marriage proposal used to be a formal process where the groom’s family sends message to bride’s family seeking their interest. Today, the couple meet and understand each other first, and then convey their interest to their families. And then the engagement if formally announced.
- Diamond was the only choice for an engagement ring during the medieval times for the Italians. It was because diamond is believed to originate from the flames of love. But, today an engagement ring can be of any valuable stone.
- During olden days when arranged marriages were the custom, giving away of the bride was a custom in exchange of some money by the groom’s father. Today, the tradition is either not present or bride’s family give money in addition to giving their daughter.
- Wedding gowns for Christians were blue symbolizing purity. But, today the color of wedding gown is a personal preference of the bride rather than any tradition.
- Kissing the bride is considered as a legal bond that seals all contracts, in Roman times. Today, it is considered as a completion of the marriage ceremony.
Modern weddings and their significance
Contemporary weddings are quite strikingly different to the past era. The marriage has turned mostly an occasion for showcasing the grandeur and status of the bridal family. Though the cultural traditions are still part of the marriage ceremonies, they are being modified to the convenience rather than strictly adhering to the traditions.