Asian Wedding Traditions – Then and Now
While some traditions withstand the test of time just as many fade away and disappear over the years. There are many wonderful Asian wedding traditions that are still practiced today. Let’s take a look at some of the ones practiced decades ago and which remains an integral part of an Asian wedding today.
As in Western society Japanese brides traditionally wear white to symbolize their purity and virginity. Although Japanese women love to wear brilliantly colored Kimonos for every day dress the bride will wear a pure white kimono on her wedding day. This is slowly but steadily being replaced by the wedding gown but around a third of brides still opt for the traditional pure white kimono.
The most important tradition in a Japanese wedding is the sharing of the sake. The bride, groom and the parents all participate. The groom will begin by sipping from three different cups, the bride then follows suit. The bride and groom will then offer sake to the parents. In total 9 cups of sake will be included in this part of the ceremony, 9 being a very fortuitous number in Japanese culture.
Gift giving traditionally consists of money and specially decorated envelopes are provided for just this purpose. This tradition still exists today.
Brides in China have worn bright red wedding outfits for centuries because the color red symbolizes good luck, prosperity, joy and of course love. This tradition seems to have been one of the strongest traditions as it is still the color of choice for the majority of Chinese brides today.
The Chinese are very superstitious and therefore it should come as no surprise that the chosen wedding date must be one that is likely to bring good luck and fortune to the newly married couple. It is not uncommon for the bride and groom to have their future decided by a fortune teller, because if their future together is not likely to be a happy one the wedding is very unlikely to go forward.
Music is an integral part of a Chinese wedding ceremony and as is typical of many important celebrations and events, a lion dance will be performed to ward off evil spirits.
Due to India being home to many religions, castes, ethnicities and languages wedding traditions vary greatly from region to region. One thing that appears to be consistent across this vast land is the wearing of brightly colored wedding apparel, adorned with great embellishment to signify prosperity. The bride may change outfits several times during the day long ceremony, with each outfit showing the groom’s family that she comes from a wealthy family. Just as in China red is considered very lucky so it is not uncommon for an Indian bride to wear a bright red wedding ensemble.
Before the wedding ceremony Indian brides are attended to by their girl friends and one of the duties of the friends is to adorn the bride’s hands, palms, wrists, arms, feet and legs with beautifully intricate, ornate henna decorative paintings.
The Saptapadi is the most important part of an Indian wedding ceremony. This is where the bride and groom exchange vows near a sacred fire, which they circle three times. At the completion of the third circle the groom presents his bride with an offering, often a silver ring, and upon her acceptance of the offering they become husband and wife.
In many parts of Asia traditions have been kept alive by generations of people, and while Western society has impacted wedding ceremonies in many parts of Asia there is still a strong commitment to keeping traditions alive.