Wedding Customs and Rituals
Mrs. Altaf Almutawa, the spouse of the Ambassador of Kuwait, hosted the English Conversation group on 14 March 2018. While sipping Arabic coffee with cardamom spices, the group watched a short film about Kuwait. From ancient civilization with desert dwelling Bedouins to pearl divers and fishermen, perhaps the world’s earliest seafaring boats have been found here, to traders of pearls, wool, spices, coffee and dates, Kuwait has developed into a modern metropolis with excellent infrastructure, economic and financial stability, and top medical facilities.
Following this informative film on Kuwait, we began our English conversations on Wedding Customs and Rituals around the World. Weddings may be a universal celebration, but traditions vary according to culture and region.
In many Arabic countries, matchmaking is still practised today. Pre-wedding rituals in Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia include the Henna Day, whereby henna is adorned on the hands and feet of the bride. Tunisia even has a Hammam Day for the bride. The official wedding ceremony takes place in the presence of the mullah. The bride changes her wedding dresses several times during the ceremony and reception.
In Kuwait, the bridegroom spends seven days at the bride’s house before returning to his home with his bride. A Tunisian bride takes seven days to get married, with the seventh day being the official wedding day. The traditional Iranian marriage proposal can take up to two years.
The Islamic wedding in Kazakhstan consists of three ceremonies: the bride’s ceremony in her home, opening the bride’s face in the groom’s home, and the religious part of the wedding ceremony performed by the mullah.
One traditional German pre-wedding ritual involves bringing some pieces of porcelain to the happy couple and then smashing them in the belief that broken glass symbolizes happiness for the couple.
Many wedding traditions have crossed borders. For example, an American bride wears something new, old, borrowed and blue. This custom is also practised in Belgium and the UK. Traditional British weddings include not only the bride and her groom, but also bridesmaids and page boys. The bride’s father gives away the bride symbolically.
During the Poruwa ceremony practised by Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. the bride's father places her right hand on the groom's right hand as a formal giving away the bride.
On the island of Java, Indonesia, pre-wedding rituals include removing the young hair on the bride’s forehead. Traditionally, the wedding ceremony takes place at the home of the bride's parents, with the bride wearing a traditional white kebaya and a traditional headdress. A second celebration is held in the house of the groom.
Japanese and Singaporeans can choose between traditional and modern wedding ceremonies. Most Singaporean brides prefer a combination of both ceremonies attended by family members and friends, followed by a reception or dinner, all on the same day and in different wedding gowns. The Japanese bride, who prefers a traditional Shinto ceremony, wears white from head to toe, including make-up, kimono and hood. The groom wears a black kimono with five family crests.
The wedding traditions around the world are still very much celebrated and can be happily passed down to future generations who pay tribute to their heritage.
Heartfelt thanks to Altaf for a very pleasant morning of English conversations, followed by a traditional Kuwaiti lunch!