Weddings are meant to be one of the happiest days in the lives of two devoted partners, but there are a few wacky wedding customs from around the world that can throw a spanner in the works. From throwing soot over the bride to banging pots and pans on the couple’s wedding night, some traditions are just plain weird.
Blackening of the Bride and Groom
Up in the Highlands of Scotland, there lies an age-old wedding custom that quite literally puts the bride and groom in a sticky situation. The ‘Blackening of the Bride’ ritual involves throwing treacle, soot and flour, at the happy couple to ward off evil spirits that might undermine their marriage. Nowadays, it’s a good excuse for the in-laws to hurl things at the bride and it’s believed that if you can endure the blackening, then you can handle marriage.
Weirdest Wedding Traditions: Charivari
The wedding night is one of the most sacred events of a marriage, but for some communities in France, it’s a chance to bang pots and pans outside the bridal suite throughout the night. Charivari, also known as “rough music”, is an old French folk custom where vociferous villagers would ‘serenade’ the couple in a very public and very loud ritual.
However, Charivari’s use wasn’t always one of cacophonous celebration. Sometimes, French townspeople would take to pots and pans in an effort to force unmarried couples to wed, demonstrate disapproval of a marriage or even announce the home of an adulterous villager. Given the myriad meanings of the clamor outside their windows, this ritual must have been quite confusing for newlyweds. The modern age is a little more forgiving, though, and today Charivari is largely ceremonial. Don’t expect to get full peace and quiet on your wedding night, however; couples must also provide snacks for the noisy revelers.
Weirdest Wedding Traditions: Cupid’s Arrows
You’ve seen them in movies, read them in books, and listened to them in songs: all’s fair in love and war, love hurts, is blind, is a battlefield, etc. There’s a trove of cliches about love and pain, but for certain Chinese newlyweds, it’s a bit more literal. A custom from the millennia-old Yugur culture involves the groom at the wedding ceremony shooting three arrows at the bride before breaking the bow and arrows. Luckily, the arrows have no heads but it can still be painful for the fair bride. If done correctly, though, story has it that they will love each other forever.