Wedding Traditions and Their Origins
Oh, how far we’ve come…
In old times, the tradition was to dress the bridesmaids exactly in the same manner as the bride, in the hope that any evil spirit trying to target the bride would be confused on seeing so many lookalikes. It is also possible that this was done to ensure that the bride didn’t become a target of a jealous or spurned suitor (who would be as confused as the evil spirit seeing so many women dressed identically with veils covering their faces).
Today of course, the bridesmaid’s dresses are quite different from the bride and come in a variety of colors – although some unkind people do say that they’re deliberately designed to be ugly, so as to avoid giving any competition to the bride.
It’s customary to throw rice at the newlyweds as a symbol of happiness and prosperity. Rice is also symbolic of a life giving seed and it is thrown at the couple in the hope that will have many children.
Giving Away the Bride
In old times, the daughter was quite literally the property of the father. Marriages were very often based not on love but on financial and other considerations. The groom would have to pay a ‘bride price’ to the father of the bride. This ancient tradition of giving the bride away indicated that all fatherly obligations had been fulfilled and that the ownership of the bride was being passed from the father to the husband. Of course, the tradition has evolved over the years and today the father is usually the person who walks his daughter down the aisle. The modern version of this ritual celebrates the loving bond between the father and the daughter, and represents a father’s blessings and good wishes to his daughter.