I love learning about new cultures and how other communities celebrate big life events.
No event is quite as telling as when a couple decides to walk down the aisle and tie the knot. In fact, the phrase “tie the knot” stems from the cultural tradition of actually binding the bride and groom’s hands together during the ceremony, a ritual dating all the way back to Roman times.
As you’ll see when you scroll below, however, that was one of the least unusual customs newlyweds took part in throughout history. The bride was especially prone to having some questionable practices enforced on her that could at times actually be life threatening. I had no idea how much of this joyful celebration was so brutal back in the day.
Still, some weren’t so bad. Take a look and let us know in the comments if we missed any other surprising bridal traditions from the past.
And don’t forget to SHARE with your friends!
[H/T: Mental Floss, Huffington Post]
1. Hide From Attackers
When Ancient Romans made their way to Wales, they brought their aggressive wedding traditions with them.
After the comparatively calm ceremony, the bride would be hidden away in her home. It was then up to the groom’s friends to invade the house and “capture her,” something a groom recently surprised his new wife with by re-enacting.
2. Get Showered In Crumb Confetti
After the groom’s friends won the wedding battle, ancient Romans would continue the celebration by breaking a loaf of bread over the bride’s head — something they believed would help promote her fertility.
Over the years, this has evolved to the slice of cake shared by both the bride and groom.
3. Lay On The Layers
Way back in the day, the Kamchadal folks from Northeastern Russia performed a wedding ceremony that involved the groom stripping his bride of her clothes. Once she was naked, they were considered married.
However, the rest of the women in the area would have spent the time leading up to the big day layering the maiden with as many clothes as her body could hold, essentially making her resemble a mummy. This made the task of undressing her much more difficult than it sounds.
4. Or Get Stripped Down
Rather than protecting the bride with layers, English wedding guests in the Middle Ages would begin tearing at her clothes (for “good luck”) as soon as the ceremony was over.
This is what inspired the traditional bouquet toss: the bride would throw the bouquet in an attempt to distract the guests and make her escape.
5. Receive A Full Inspection
In other areas of Russia during the early 1800s, brides-to-be were sent to the female friends of her groom. These gal pals were then required to remove all of the bride’s clothing so they could determine if she had any hidden defects.
If she was deemed suitable, they would throw hops at her during the ceremony with the belief that she would have as many children as the hops on the ground.
6. Assert Her Dominance
Sweden has a history of reversing the idea of a male-dominated marriage. In the 1800s, the brides were instructed to show the groom who would really be the boss.
The bride would search him out before the ceremony, catching a glimpse of him before he saw her. She would also walk one step ahead of him, take the first seat at the reception, and also drop something for him to pick up — all to prove that he would gladly do her bidding throughout the marriage.
7. Swap Clothes With The Groom
Several cultures throughout history (including Egyptian, Russian, and Danish communities) would have the bride dress as her betrothed or as a warrior, occasionally complete with the shaving of the head, while the groom donned the wedding gown.
The reasoning varied, though it most often boiled down to attempts at confusing “evil spirits.”
8. Get Pelted With Rocks
In the past, newlywed brides from Central Morocco were set astride a horse and instructed to hold a thin cane in the air. It was then the groomsmen’s job to throw rocks (or whatever was handy) at the cane in order to destroy it in a particularly brutal symbolic representation of the bride losing her virginity.
Though she wasn’t the target, chances are this went out of style when the poor thing would greet her husband all bloodied and bruised.
9. Carry A Lucky Charm
This Celtic tradition from Ireland would have the bride lugging a heavy iron horseshoe down the aisle to bless her marriage with luck, though thankfully today’s brides have adapted the custom to much lighter charms of silver or gold on necklaces.
10. Collect Her Goodies
In the old days of Finland, brides were taken on a sort of wedding-themed trick-or-treat mission with older women escorting them door to door collecting presents from her neighbors and family members. These gifts were then placed in a pillowcase.
11. Match With Her Bridesmaids
There were no elaborate color schemes for the bridal party back in the day since their role was more for protection than camaraderie.
Bridesmaids in the past would dress in similar white dresses: In case anyone tried to kidnap the bride, they could be taken instead. The trick was also supposed to curb those pesky evil spirits.
Did we miss any strange or unique bridal traditions from back in the day? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!