We’re all familiar with wedding traditions that occur at American weddings like the bride tossing the bouquet and the couple exchanging rings during the ceremony. While wedding traditions can vary from family to family, they vary even more throughout the globe. From getting money to pay for your wedding to getting spit on by a wedding guest, there are wedding traditions across the world that may sound a bit strange.
Congo: Don’t forget NOT to smile.
No matter how thrilled you may be that it’s your wedding day, neither the bride nor groom are allowed to smile at a wedding in Congo. From the pre-gathering and ceremony to pictures and the reception, the couple is not to smile, as it would show they are not taking their marriage seriously.
China: Hit me with your best shot.
You wouldn’t think shooting your significant other with an arrow would be considered romantic, but it’s a must in Chinese wedding traditions. The groom must shoot three arrows, with the arrowheads removed, at the bride. After the groom fires away he picks up the arrows and breaks them in half, signifying this love for one another is forever.
Fiji: Toothy treasures.
In Fiji, a tabua (or whale’s tooth) is seen as good luck and is even thought to have supernatural powers. So what better gift to give right? It is a custom that a man who wishes to marry will present a whales tooth to his future bride’s father when asking for her hand in marriage.
Russia: Get your grub on.
Newlyweds in Russia traditionally share a wedding sweetbread called karavaya. This bread is decorated with wheat for prosperity and interlocking rings for faithfulness. The catch with eating this sweet treat? Whoever takes the biggest bite between the husband and wife without using their hands is now considered the head of the family.
Germany: A smashing good time.
Wedding guests in Germany are encouraged to smash porcelain dishes on the ground to ward of evil spirits. Luckily there’s a cleanup crew: the bride and groom. The act of cleaning up the broken dishes together is a lesson to teach that if they work together, they can face any challenge thrown their way.
Japan: Taking the dress code seriously.
Like many wedding customs, brides in Japan are to wear white. Japanese brides who have a traditional Shinto ceremony literally must wear white from head to toe. This includes everything: makeup, kimono, and hood. The white is to resemble her maiden status and the hood is to hide her “horns of jealousy” she feels towards her mother-in-law.
Jamaica: Dressed to impress.
On her wedding day, a bride in Jamaica takes to the street to see what the villagers think of her getup. It is customary that the villagers call out any negative comments on her appearance. If the majority of comments are negative, she is to go back home and change her wedding look so it is up to snuff.
Kenya: Thanks for your support dad.
The guests of a Kenyan wedding do not want to tempt fate by being too supportive of the newlyweds. This is demonstrated as the bride leaves with her new husband and her father spits on her.
Norway: Bring on the bling.
It is traditional in Norway for a bride to wear and silver and gold crown to her wedding ceremony. These crowns have charms hanging all around it that will clink together when she moves. The purpose of the sound is to deflect evil spirits.
Cuba: Get that money girl!
It is customary at a Cuban wedding that every man who dances with the bride to pin money to her dress to help the couple pay for both their wedding and their honeymoon.