By Nico Prins
Your father in law might well hate you, but he’s unlikely to spit on your head during the wedding ceremony. Even though you might have metaphorically stolen your wife’s heart, you probably didn’t need to wake up in the dead of night to kidnap her from her home. Intrigued? Here’s a list of some of the craziest wedding traditions from Indonesia and around the world.
Do you love your husband enough to wash his feet in front of a crowd of a thousand of your closest relatives, family and friends? This is exactly what you are expected to do if you get married according to Javanese traditions. Of course the husband should step on an egg before his bride washes his feet.
In a tradition that takes a completely different twist, friends of the groom in Korea, tie a rope around the ankles of the groom and start slapping the soles of his feet with a little fish. Like Viagra, this is supposed to make sure the groom doesn’t disappoint on his wedding night.
If you have a weak bladder you shouldn’t get married in South Kalimantan. It’s tradition that neither the bride nor the groom should go to the toilet for 72 hours before the wedding because it is supposed to bring you bad luck.
To celebrate the happiest day in a woman’s life, friends and relatives of the bride will show affection by putting disgusting things into a bucket and throwing it over her. After this public humiliation she should then be tied to a tree in a ritual known as the “blackening.”
Its possible to settle family scores in parts of India before the wedding even starts; while walking to the alter the groom is required to take off his shoes. This is a sign for battle to begin. Everyone from the groom’s side of the family is expected to protect the shoe as the bride’s family tries to steal it. If you want to imagine the scene, think of a rugby match with 300 people on each team.
When a person in Eastern Java finds the woman of his dreams, he has to devise a way to kidnap her from her home before they can be officially married. One imagines that with a clumsy groom the whole of the bride’s family is in on the act, pretending not to hear the groom as he stumbles around in the darkened kitchen.
Kidnapping the bride is a recurrent theme in weddings. In Germany on the night before the wedding the couple’s friends kidnap the bride and then the groom then has to try and find her. The search starts at the local pub, so I’m assuming the idea is to find her before he passes out.
If you don’t particularly like your in laws then this tradition should be perfect for you. After the wedding ceremony the family of the bride are expected to lie in a row face down in the dirt. You then get the chance to walk all over them (no jumping permitted).
In parts of China the last time you will see the woman you love with a full head of hair is before you marry her. This is because a married woman is supposed to shave off all but a lock of her hair. This is considered a sign of beauty and cleanliness.
Before the wedding the groom’s family will visit the house of the brides family. After paying a dowry the bride is supposed to be presented to the groom. However, if the dowry is considered to be insufficient, a substitute bride will be presented (this could well be a cross dressing friend). If this happens then more money needs to be handed over, unless of course the groom is happy with the substitute.