European Wedding Traditions

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Summary: Many of the modern day wedding traditions that are commonplace in almost any culture around the world have their origins in European weddings.
A lot of the modern wedding day traditions practiced in many countries has their roots in European wedding traditions. These rites stem from a mixture of religious and cultural beliefs that have evolved with the passage of time. Here are some of the European wedding traditions that are still being practiced today.
Among the most celebrated European wedding traditions that have found in its way into many cultures around the world is the practice of giving an engagement ring to the bride to be. This tradition actually began in the year 860 AD. When Pope Nicholas I declared that an engagement ring is a requirement to formally seal an understanding of marriage. He also declared that it be made of gold. Gold was preferred because it symbolized that the husband to be was willing to make a financial sacrifice for his loved one. 617 years later the practice of putting a diamond on an engagement ring was born when in 1477 King Maximilian gave his bride to be the first diamond encrusted engagement ring. Since then brides all over the world have expected their future husbands to give them the same honor.
Another European tradition that has crossed cultural and religious boundaries is the practice of the Best Man. This actually began in Germany during the medieval period. During this tumultuous period it was customary for a groom to resort to kidnap a woman from a neighboring village and he needed a reliable companion or the best man in order to assist him in his quest and also to protect and stand by him during the wedding in order to fend off any relatives that may have doubts about the union.
Something Old, Something New
It was in England where the tradition of getting something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue was first practiced. Getting something old symbolizes the continuity whereas something new represented the future for the couple. Something borrowed represented future happiness and something blue represented the color of purity for both the groom and the bride on their wedding day.
It is quite surprising that the tradition of wearing a white wedding gown was actually meant to signify joy and not purity as most people believed. Before the 16th century, this tradition actually was not commonplace. However, when Ann of Brittany wore one in 1499, it quickly became the norm and here we are today. During the reign of the Tudor monarchs the tradition of throwing old shoes at the happy couple’s carriage became known and practiced. If the shoe struck the carriage, it was supposed to signify good fortune for the couple. This is where the modern tradition of tying shoes to the back of the bridal car came about.

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