As we count down to The Day, I'm discovering more and more funny wedding traditions and interesting origins of certain beliefs. Here's a few I've compiled -
Old, New, Borrowed, Blue
The saying, "Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" is a popular rhyme that has been used since Victorian times. The "something old" represents the bond to the bride's family and her old life; "something new" represents the couple's new life together and their future hope for happiness, prosperity and success; "something borrowed" from a happily married woman is meant to impart similar happiness to the bride; and "something blue" represents fidelity and constancy.
Showering the couple with rice is an ancient tradition. As rice is considered a "life giving" seed it is thought that by throwing in on the couple they will be bestowed with fertility and have many children. Despite the longevity of this tradition, it is on the verge of extinction because many register offices and churches no longer allow it because of the mess.
The ceremonial kiss that concludes the wedding ceremony is said to represent the couple sharing and joining their souls. In Roman times the kiss "sealed" the couple's agreement to join in a life-long commitment.
Placing the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand
Placing the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand has two possible origins; ancient Egypt or 17th century Europe. The Egyptians believed the "vein of love" ran directly from the ring finger to the heart, therefore the ring was placed there to denote eternal love. During a 17th century wedding ceremony the groom would slide the wedding ring part way up the bride's thumb, index finger and middle finger as the priest said "In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit". As the ring finger was the first free finger, the ring was placed there.
Bridesmaids, Best Man
The bridal party has many origins, one of which comes from the Anglo Saxon days. When the groom was about to capture his bride, he needed the help of his friends, the "bridesmen" or "brideknights."
They would make sure the bride got to the church and to the groom's house afterwards. The bride also had women to help her, the "bridesmaids" or "brideswomen."
Why the Bride stands on the left
During the marriage ceremony, the bride stands on the left and the groom on the right.
The first marriages were by capture, i.e., the groom would kidnap the woman, and take her away from her tribe with the help of a warrior friend, his best man, who would help him fight off other men who wanted this woman, and also help him prevent her family from finding them.
The groom would put himself and his bride into hiding, the honeymoon, and by the time the bride's family found them, the bride would already be pregnant.
When the groom fought off other warriors who also wanted his bride, he would hold onto her with his left hand, while fighting them off with his sword in his right hand.
Another ancient practice in some parts of Ireland is that of firing rifles and other weaponry into the air as the couple pass to salute the bride; of course over the past centuries this has occasionally been observed with devastating results. Honking the horns of the cars in the procession from the church replaces the firing of guns.