All hail…here comes royalty 

A BIT WEIRD YET REAL WEDDING TRADITIONS 

When you get married in Hawaii, ukulele music might fill your ears, or maybe your musician will play the ukeke or maybe even the pahu. You’ll probably have a lei placed around your neck.  Leis are tokens of love and aloha. Grooms often wear a garland of green leaves (manly) rather than Kika or jasmine blossoms.  At the beginning of your ceremony, the conch might be blown, especially if it’s a beach elopement—a Hawaiian tradition that dates back to the time when the conch was blown to announce the arrival of Alii or Royalty.  Your officiant might smash open a coconut and spill the milk on the sand, and then ask you to rest your forehead on your partner’s forehead.  But you’re unlikely to experience a wedding tradition in Hawaii that will shock you. If your breath is taken away, it’s probably because you’re standing on the most dramatic beach you’ve ever seen, not because you’ve been punched in the gut for good luck or because your guests have suddenly gone berserk, yelling and laughing and banging and rattling pots and pans.  This pot banging business is an actual wedding ritual that was once commonplace in parts of Europe, especially in the middle ages. It’s still practiced today at some weddings. They call it Charivari in France, In Northern England, skimmington.  Family and friends gather outside the house of the newly weds and make pot-and-pan music or the din of a lifetime.  The wedding couple has to bring out food and drinks and endure the racket. 

How about this tradition: in some parts of Korea a groom can expect to be slapped about with a dead fish, apparently to prepare him for his first night of  marriage. The connotation is darn right unspeakable.  In Scotland, there’s the old Scots blackening ritual. Wedding gatherers throw all sorts of black and brown vile things at the couple before the wedding—if they can accept the disgusting, stinky mess they can endure anything.  Then there’s Chinese tears training — the bride-to-be spends a month before the wedding learning how to weep like a professional. They smash dishes in Germany and Swedes aren’t just noted for their meatballs, they’re known for kissing and spitting on the bride and groom—yup, a very Swedish thing, I’m told.   So if a young man places a whale’s tooth in your palm, I’m guessing that you’re a father, and the young man is asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage—a Fiji thing! 

If you know of other slightly strange wedding traditions, I’d love to hear from you—Mahalo— David.


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