Superstitions & Traditions
published December 13th, 2013
There’s a good chance that Friday the 13th isn’t the date of choice to tie the knot. In fact many wedding planners probably steer clear of any date involving the No.13 simply because it’s deemed to be “unlucky”. Of course it’s all superstitious nonsense, but weddings have a long history of superstitions and traditions that not many newlyweds are prepared to shake.
Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
The famous rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe” appears to have originated in England in 1898 - and shows no signs of getting old. Although the last line “silver sixpence in her shoe” is generally omitted these days. Wearing "something old" represents the bride's past, and "something new" symbolizes the couple's future. The bride is supposed to get her "something borrowed" from someone who is happily married in the hope that some of that person's good fortune rubs off on her. While "Something blue" denotes fidelity and love.
Wearing a Veil
In ancient Rome a bride would wear a veil down the aisle to disguise herself from evil spirits that were jealous of her happiness. They obviously didn’t have novelty glasses and fake noses in ancient Rome.
Seeing Each Other Before The Wedding
Back in the day arranged marriages were all the rage, and people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony it would give them the chance to make a bolt for the door. Of course these days many couples date (and even live together) for many years before tying the knot. So if they want to escape before the ceremony they have ample time in which to do so!
Rain on Your Wedding Day
Alanis Morissette said rain on your wedding day was “ironic”. It’s probably more “unfortunate” than anything. Nobody wants to resemble a drowned rat in their wedding photos. Although in some cultures rain on your wedding day symbolizes fertility and cleansing. So if it rains and your firstborn arrives exactly nine months after your wedding day you’ll know why.
Knives as Wedding Gifts
According to folklore, a knife signifies a broken relationship and is bad luck to give as a wedding gift. Some couples who observe this superstition even give the gift giver a penny, which makes it a purchase and not a gift.
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
Back in Medieval Europe (when evil spirits roamed the land) many believed that a bride was extra vulnerable to spirits through the soles of her feet. So to avoid bringing in any evil spirits, the groom carried the bride into their new home. The sudden spate of back problems in men was unrelated.
A Spider On Your Wedding Dress
Apparently English lore dictates that finding an arachnid on your wedding dress is a good omen. Try telling that to the groom when the bride runs out of the church screaming.
Using Your Married Name Before the Wedding
Some think it’s tempting fate for the bride to write out her married name or monogram before she's actually married, and that the wedding is doomed if she does. So practising your new signature is probably a no-no.
Crossing a Nun or Monk's Path
A bride who sees a nun or a monk on the way to her wedding is said to be cursed with a barren life dependent on charity. Now whoever thought that one up clearly has a few issues!
Bells are traditionally chimed at Irish weddings to keep evil spirits away and to ensure a harmonious family life. Again with those pesky evil spirits…
Italian tradition states that smashing up plates and vases will bring good luck, and however many pieces glassware breaks into will symbolize how many years a couple will be happily married. Many others just call it a dreadful waste of crockery.
Crying on Your Wedding Day
It is supposed to be good luck for the bride to cry on her wedding day because it symbolizes that she has shed all her tears and will not have any to shed during her marriage. So go ahead and ball your eyes out. As long as they’re tears of joy you should have a happy marriage.