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Marriage Symbols Across the Globe

©istockphoto/davidf

©istockphoto/davidf

Meeting locals, and the opposite sex, is part of one’s journey overseas. Before leaving home, get acquainted with the culture’s wedding traditions, customs and symbols. These are some weird, strange, yet traditional symbols of marriage across the globe.

Good Ol’ English Cultures
To Americans, rings are worn on the left and the third finger signifies taken. But, most do not know how this ritual originated. Back in around 1549, King Edward VI started the tradition of placing the ring on the left hand. Legend has it he chose the “ring” finger because a vein runs from the hand to the heart. Thus, it keeps love within, and never allows love to flow away from the hand. So, modern day rituals have kept with the initial medieval era tradition.

Kenyan Mucous
In a Massai wedding, women are blessed by their father in an untraditional wedding custom. The father spits mucous atop of his daughter’s head and breasts before she leaves the village with her new husband. You’ve got to be pretty committed over there.

Swedish Kisses
During a Swedish wedding, the bride or groom must caution their bathroom breaks. When one uses the latrine, the partner left at the table gets smacked with a face full of kisses. Which means the opposite sex from the wedding party will kiss the bride or groom.

Chinese Concubines
In ancient China, high-status men once claimed several wives, or concubines. Wearing a ring denied him of his status, so rings weren’t worn. Today, diamond ring-advertising floods China; but yet rings represent more status than love. It is common for some marriages to balance the “yin and yang” energy. The men wear the ring on the left hand, and the woman wears it on the right. Some couples put the rings away for protection and only wear it on special occasions. Also Chinese brides usually wear red on the wedding day.

Hindu Head to Toe Traditions
Marriage in Hindu traditions represents the unity of two souls, not people. One tradition includes a “Mangalsutra,” which is a black and gold bead necklace with a gold or diamond pendant. This proclaims her marital status and serves as a protective influence over her husband. A “sindoor” is where red powder on the woman’s head represents her marital status. Also, Hindu women wear toe rings to represent “unavailable.”

The German Hand Switch
In German culture, engaged men and women wear the band left ring finger. Once married, the band is worn on the right ring finger. Being efficient in the Deutschland, the Germans use the same band during the engagement and wedding. When engaged, friends of the bride and groom kidnap the bride. The groom must hunt the nearby pubs in search for his long lost bride.

Knockin’ Off Korean Socks
After the wedding ceremony, friends of the groom situate the groom into a comfortable seat. The friends take off the groom’s socks, tie a knot around his ankles with rope and beat his soles with dried yellow corvina, a type of fish. This makes the groom “stronger” before his first wedding night.

Brazil’s Try to Commit Traditions
In Brazil, the wedding band is called, “alianca.” Before an official engagement, the man gives an, “anel de compromise.” This represents commitment, not an official engagement. A common ring consists of precious stones and only worn by the female. When a couple gets engaged, both individuals wear a ring on the right ring finger. Once marriage is official, the couple wears a matching set of “aliancas” on the left ring finger.

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