By Bridget McAllister
Blackening of the Bride (Scotland)
In some parts of Scotland, brides-to-be are prepared for their big day by being humiliated. How very Scottish. The bride’s friends and family may dump disgusting concoctions on her. These often include mud. They do this until she is completely soaked in nastiness, and then tie her to a tree. The significance is that it toughens the bride up for all the trials and tribulations of married life by giving her something truly awful to compare it to. However, nowadays it’s common for both the bride AND the groom to go through it together.
It’s All in the Entrails
The Chinese-Mongolian tribe known as the Daur deal. It starts with scheduling the wedding by killing and gutting a baby chicken. Then observing its liver. If the chick’s liver is red and healthy, the couple are permitted to decide that day what the date of the wedding should be. If the liver looks sickly or unpleasant, the couple has to keep on gutting chicks until they find a good one.
Wedding Day Anticipation
Some tribes in Borneo prepare a bride and groom for their wedding by confining them each to their homes and forbidding either of them to go to the bathroom. For the 3 days leading up to the ceremony they cannot use the bathroom at all. Certainly makes them excited to finally get married, doesn’t it?
In old Irish wedding tradition, the bride’s feet could never both leave the floor at once as the new couple danced. Irish mythology emphasizes the reality of mischievous fairies who like to steal beautiful things and, as the bride is beautiful, fairies may try to abduct her. But even then, fairies have rules. Ultimately, they couldn’t steal her if her feet stayed on the ground.
In some regions of India, a wedding cannot begin until the groom has removed his shoes. After he does this, the bride’s side of the family descends upon the abandoned shoes. As a result, the groom’s side plays keep-away and tries to defend them. If the bride’s relations successfully nab the groom’s shoes and hide them, the groom’s have to pay up to get them back. This game is called “Joota Chupai”, literally “hidden shoes.”