This month I was trying to come up with some unusual wedding customs I could adapt for use in my novel set in the land of Tlefas. As always, my research into the strange and bizarre did not disappoint.
Inflicting physical pain in one odd ritual. It’s not what you think. After Korean wedding ceremonies, the groom’s friends do all they can to strengthen him for the wedding night. How do they help him? They remove his socks, tie a rope around his ankles and beat the soles of his feet with a dried fish.
Feel also play a part in Scottish rites. The night before the ceremony, people wash the feet of the bride. Before the ritual gets started, a married woman places a ring in the tub. Whoever finds the ring will be the next to be wed.
The Scots have a not so clean ritual as well. A few days or weeks before the wedding, the bride’s friends and family kidnap her and pour the most disgusting mess they can come up with. The recipe varies, but it usually contains eggs, cheese, fish, sausages, whatever. When she is sufficiently “blackened,” they parade her around the town so everyone can have a good laugh.
But back to feet. The Russians have a custom that when the groom arrives at the bride’s home to escort her to the ceremony, they make him pay and overcome all kinds of delays. For example, the bride won’t be able to find her shoes, and the groom will have to look for them.
Speaking of walking, in the Marquesas Islands wedding ceremonies end in a unique manner. All the bride’s relatives lie in a row in front of the newly married pair. The couple walk over the “carpet” made of their relatives as they leave the ceremony.
In central China, Tuija brides cries for an hour a day, starting a month before the wedding. Her mother joins her 10 days later. After 10 more days, other female relatives join in. Supposedly the tears are celebrating the couple’s happy future.
Also in China, Daur couples choose the date of the wedding together. No, they don’t consult a calendar. Both of them hold a knife, and use it to kill a chick. Then they examine its liver. From that they decide on a date if the liver’s appearance is favorable. If it’s not, they try again with another chick.
The oddest on has to be the practice of the Tedong tribe in northern Borneo. Once married, the newlyweds are not permitted to go to the toilet for 72 hours. Compliance is closely monitored by their families. Cheating bears a high consequence in the form of bad luck, such as the early death of one of their children.
While many of these seem strange to me, I did find out that much of the world considers the western custom of wearing a white dress odd. For many, white is the color of funerals, and it’s more appropriate for the bride to wear vibrant colors.
Do you have any others to add to the list?