British Wedding traditions
Traditions and culture of every nation are formed over the centuries and transmitted from one generation to another. The English treat traditions with special respect. An important stage in a person's life is marriage. It is the basis of a family s creation. Therefore, the brightest example illustration of traditions and customs is wedding and its ceremonies. What girl does not dream about the best and unforgettable luxury wedding - to put on a chic and wonderful dress, to be the most magnificent and beautiful on this important day for her: to marry a loved man and become the happiest in the whole world. Parents in their turn try to arrange this event in the best traditions, to perform certain rituals, which, it is believed, will help the newlyweds create a happy and strong family, as well as frighten off evil and failure.
Historical development of wedding traditions
Currently, couples in love make the decision to marry by themselves, but in former times parents or guardians decided everything. They tried to marry their daughters for wealthy suitors, foreseeing in this not only the care of their daughter's future, but also their own benefit. Men married women to produce posterity, clean and cook. Generally young people could not even know each other when it was decided that they should get married. Also, the marriage agreement could also be concluded when the prospective newlyweds were still children. At the same time, children over 7 years old could become husband and wife - they just needed to call each other husband and wife, embrace and kiss. Although the children were already married, they continued to live with their parents or guardians. They began to live together only when they reached a certain age.
The marriage or engagement agreement had legal force and could not be violated.
But sometimes couples in love, who disagree with parental choice or if the parents were against their marriage, could run away from home and marry in secret.
Because of frequent wars and illnesses, one of the spouses could become widowed. For those who want to marry again, marital agencies began to work in big cities, balls, fairs and meetings were organized, as well as announcements were made to local newspapers and catalogs of fiancees and fiances were compiled.
The best time for the best event
The English were very serious about the wedding day. They did not marry in May and during Lent.
The best day for a marriage is Wednesday. Although, if marry on Monday, then the couple is waiting for wealth, and, if on Tuesday, then health.
It is believed in England that Saturday is less happy day for festivities.
The sacrament of the wedding was to take place exactly in 3 months after it was announced in the church. In modern England, this custom is also preserved. The fact is that throughout this time if anyone objects tot this wedding, he can make his protest.
In ancient times it was forbidden to marry people of different faiths, as well as of different nationalities.
Modern legislation is not so strict, although it has some requirements:
- people should marry voluntarily;
- they should not be tied up by other marriage ties;
- their age should be over 16 years old;
- and they cannot be close relatives.
Otherwise, the marriage is considered void. In addition, since 2013, in some regions of the UK, namely, England, Wales and Scotland, have approved a bill on unisexual wedlock, and also there were already the first gay marriages in 2014.
Nowadays, marriage begins with an engagement. A man in a romantic and solemn atmosphere makes an offer to his beloved; he kneels and gives her a ring. If the girl gives her consent, the couple is considered engaged, they announce their engagement to family and close friends. They can place an engagement s announcement in the local newspaper. After this, careful planning and wedding preparations begin. Guests are sent an invitation card with the signature RSVP - this means a request to give an answer to participate this event. Wedding stationery is an important part of the preparations, the couples keep them in prior focus. You may see amazing examples of this art created by Polina Perri.
In England, they practice rehearsals for weddings. The priest, bridesmaids, best man and parents are invited. They try to rehearse every moment, so that on the appointed day everything was perfect and there was no commotion.
At the present time on the wedding eve, “hen parties” and “stag parties” are held - as “farewell to a free life”. The fiancee has party with her friends. They put on something pink, can recover to a beauty salon, and then to a bar or restaurant. The fiance, accordingly, spends his time with his friends. They arrange “Night for men only”, which can take a few days. After all, an obligatory program of such a stag party is to visit entertainment establishments of different cities. The most popular today are Liverpool, Brighton, Edinburgh, Krakow, Newcastle, Prague, Amsterdam and many other cities.
Bridesmaids and the best man
As at one time the bridesmaids and the best men help in wedding preparations. Their role is very important and special. There are six bridesmaids. Identical dresses are usually sewed for them and the fiancee s mother must pay for them. These girls help to choose the bridal dress. Tradition to robe a white wedding dress started since 18th century and went from Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert. Before that, the best clothes were dressed for the wedding and it could be of any color, except for red and black. From their wedding dresses women subsequently sew christening attire for their children.
Also, there is still a tradition for the bride to have at her wedding:
· a new thing;
· an old one;
· Some blue thing, namely a garter on the bride's leg or a ribbon that encircles the dress. Blue is considered a symbol of love, hope and innocence. Accordingly, it was necessary to wear the same shade. They also put a silver coin into the shoe so that life would be rich and prosperous.
And if the bride discovered on her spider's dress, it was considered to be a great success.
Also, the bridesmaids must decorate the house and the road to the wedding place with flowers, since the bride is forbidden to do this, so that her further family life would be happy. Among the bridesmaids, one is the most important - she will always be near the fiancee and carry her bouquet. As for witness or best man, he is only one and his role is very important. His task is to negotiate about wedding ceremony with a priest, pay him a fee, give tip to church officials and keep rings with him.
Long-expected Wedding Day!
Guests were gathering at the bride's house. When the wedding cortege was going to the church, flowers were thrown in front of it, namely rosemary, marsh iris and marigolds, and sometimes wheat, cane and a pancake - all this was done for the well-being in the family life of the newlyweds. The way to the church was accompanied by music, songs and shooting from rifles to drive away evil forces and misfortunes.
To decorate the church gate silver spoons were collected from all around, also it was decorated with clocks and beer mugs to have more children. If the clock began strike during the wedding rite, it was considered a very bad sign, so people tried to choose this time very carefully. There was also a ritual that you need to go around the church three times, and before entering the church itself, it was necessary for the bride and groom to jump over a small bench so that all difficulties in family life could easily be overcome. At the moment of jumping, fiancee needed, as if by accident, to lose the garter from her leg, and unmarried men tried to pick it up, and then carried it around the church singing songs. When the newlyweds walked to the altar, a girl walked first and scattered petals of flowers. There were also children who followed bride and carried her long veil.
Now the groom is waiting for his bride at the altar, invited guests are sitting in the church, and the bride goes on arm with her father or close relative. So father hands his daughter to future son-in-law and gives his blessing. During the wedding, the priest asks newlyweds three times whether, in good faith, they marry and whether there is a person who may object to this marriage and can say the reason why this marriage cannot happen. Then begins the wedding ceremony. Fiancee and fiance say their vows. They swear to be faithful to each other, to stay together in sorrow and in joy until death separates them. Then they exchange the rings, after this they are declared a husband and wife - the groom can kiss the bride.
When newlyweds left the church, they were sprinkled with wheat or crumbs of cake. At present time, they use confetti in form of small flowers, horseshoes and hearts.