TGIF. We want to start the weekend off right; with something fun and not so serious. So, we decided to do some research on Wedding Night Rituals from around the world: past and present.
It’s true that in the past couples used to leave the wedding early and rush off to the airport to fly or cruise somewhere sunny and tropical, but fast forward to present day and although leaving early is still somewhat practiced in many of the United States, here in Canada most are partying all night with their guests and then rushing off to their own home or a hotel room.
Perhaps it’s because we are so multi-cultural and fusion weddings are the norm so we’ve picked up on other culture’s traditions, but one thing is common, in most cultures, if not all, the union must be consummated to complete the marriage ritual. However, wedding night rituals vary from culture to culture and some of the ones we’ve found are outright mind-blowing.
Here are three interesting ones that we’ve found that are still practiced today.
France: La Soupe.
This sounds innocent enough right? Well, just like with most marriage traditions, the origins are not very tasteful. This tradition is actually quite barbaric… and definitely doesn’t ooze romance and love. Here’s how it used to work: at the end of the reception after the couple left to go do the ‘horizontal tango’, the wedding party would stay behind to clean up. Well, their idea of cleaning up was to toss everything from wine and cake to leftover food and even used tissues into a toilet (yep, a toilet!) and would then beckon the couple to join them and the rest of the guests to drink it all up….yum! Why you ask? It was meant to give them their mojo to go all night.
Nowadays of course, this practice is no longer so nasty. Luckily for the couple La Soupe is now a lovely French Onion Soup.
Greece: Krevati – Bed Making Ceremony
So you’re thinking that this would be the honeymoon bed full of rose petals, a bottle of champagne and chocolate on the night table and aromatherapy candles. Right? Well, you’d be wrong. Making the Krevati (bed) is an old Greek Tradition, which takes place two nights before the wedding by both sets of families and close friends. Everyone gets together and feasts on delicious food and drink while a few happily married women make the bed for the marital night. Once the bed is made with the matrimonial sheets, family and friends toss money on the bed to symbolize wealth and prosperity in their marriage. A young boy or girl, depending which the couple wants first, is rolled on the bed and the couple cannot sleep there until, you guessed it, the wedding night.
Thankfully the in-laws and uncles don’t inspect the sheets anymore, like they used to historically, to ensure the Bride’s virginity. You think that’s bad? In some parts of Africa the blood stained sheets are still kept and hung out like a flag for the world to see that the Bride was a virgin.
China: One Candle, two glasses and a bunch of dirty jokes.
Traditionally after the wedding, the couple would retreat to their home and they would be given two goblets of wine & honey. The glasses were joined, tied by a red ribbon, and the couple would drink together with arms intertwined. There would also be a Dragon and Phoenix candle lit, in the bedroom, which would ward off evil spirits and give good luck to the couple on the wedding night. The procession to the wedding suite included the wedding party, family and friends, who would stay with the couple and banter, joke and play games that would help the couple get comfortable with each other. The room would be open to welcome guests for three days and after that they would retreat to the Bride’s parents house where they would be greeted as guests for the first time.
Although these days, traditions tend to be followed, some couples still have their wedding party lead them to their room and take part in some fun, inappropriate jokes and games. The Dragon and Phoenix Candle is also still lit, for custom’s sake.