Sunday, October 2, 2011

Love amongst the Cherry Blossoms


Wedding fever is running hot in our household at the moment as we prepare to take to the skies and head for Japan. Last minute arrangements, the rush to find the 'right' dress, the 'perfect' shoes and the list goes on.

It's a classic love story. They met on a plane and fell in love. Now it's off to a fairytale wedding amongst the cherry blossoms.

This got me thinking about wedding traditions. These days couples are opting for less traditional weddings like beach and garden ceremonies with a celebrant rather than the traditional chapel wedding. The old superstitions and traditions that went hand in hand are now gradually fading away. So I thought I'd share a few of some of the perhaps lesser known superstitions:

  • Stag parties were first held by ancient Spartan soldiers, who kissed their bachelor days goodbye with a raucous party.
  • Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
  • It's good luck for the bride to step into the church with her right foot first.
  • It's bad luck for the bride to see a pig, hare or lizard running across the road
  • It's also bad luck for her to see an open grave or to meet a nun or monk on her wedding day.
  • Dressing the bridesmaids is to fool the evil spirits, so they will not know which one is the bride.
  • The new bride must enter her new home by the main door, and must not trip or fall. It's a bad omen if the bride stumbles. (Hence the custom of the groom carrying the bride over the threshold.)
  • The spouse who goes to sleep first on the wedding day will be the first to die. (Oh dear!) 
    So what can we expect from a wedding in Japan? 

    The wedding is a cross-cultural, true love-match and promises to be a mix of traditions. Let's look at the complexity. The groom is the third generation of Moyanese descent to be born in South Africa and was raised in Australia. The bride's family has a Japanese history that can undoubtedly be traced back through the centuries, although they embrace the modern era. The wedding party will wear traditional Japanese wedding dress, but the guests are free to choose either traditional or western. It promises to be a colourful day and an amazing photo opportunity.  

    I did some research into some of the old traditions and came up with some interesting results.
    During the age of aristocracy, the marriage system was known as 'Muko-iri' meaning that the groom was 'adopted' into the bride's family where he would provide labour for an agreed period of time to maintain the family. 
    In the 14th century, the feudal lords reigned and marriages were arranged for political and diplomatic reasons with a view to maintain peace and unity amongst themselves. During this time, the marriage partners had no choice but to marry the one the 'nakado' or matchmaker chose for them.

    The tradition changed to the 'Yome-iri' marriage system. During this time, the groom would only visit his wife in her home nightly. It wasn't until the first child was born or he lost one of his parents, that she could take up her rightful place at his side in his home.

    Interesting facts? Do you know of an unusual wedding tradition or superstition? Share it with us in your comments.

    Until next time, Sayonara


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