Thursday, November 10, 2011

Destination Wedding Tutorials: What are the local traditions about weddings?

Photographer: Walter Capelli  
Italy is a country with strong tradition-driven attitude for several ceremonies such as wedding, in fact many matrimonial traditions celebrated all over the world have their roots in Italy!

Diamond engagement rings date back to medieval era, at that time it was believed that diamonds were created by the "flames of love"!
The wearing of a bridal veil is another wedding tradition that began in Italy. The veil is a symbol of virginity, and the covering of the bride's face means she has never "known" a man before.

Older church traditions held that the luckiest day to get married on was Sunday. However, marriages during Lent or Advent were often forbidden and the entire months of May and August weddings were also frowned upon as being harbingers of bad luck to the bride and groom. A rainy day seems to be good omen for the bride “sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata/wet bride, lucky bride”.

The traditional wedding mass or ceremony (sposalizio) often takes place in the morning, allowing the bride and groom some quiet time together afterwards while family and friends prepare for the reception festivities. In the last years weddings are taking place in the second part of the afternoon (especially during hot summers).

In some small Italian villages, it is common for the bride and groom to walk to the village main square together after the wedding mass. In the square, the family and friends of the couple set up a sawhorse, log, and double-handled ripsaw. The bride and groom must work together to saw the log in half, representing the teamwork it takes to have a successful marriage.
In some regions, the bride and groom shattered a vase or large glass together and the number of pieces were said to represent the number of happy years they would spend together.
A more modern tradition is the release of a pair of white doves after the ceremony by the bride and groom to symbolize the couple's love and happiness.

The tradition of candied almonds being given at wedding receptions comes from Italy. The treats are meant to represent both the sweet and bitters aspects of life…a tangible reminder of "for better or worse". The candies are often wrapped in tulle, and given to each guest inside a small pottery or glass dish as a wedding favor. 

Following the ceremony, all the guests get out from the church and wait for the couple to sing the documents. As soon as they pass through the door they are held by a rain of rice and rose-petals considered to be harbingers respectively of money and felicity. 
The reception usually begins in the afternoon and carries on until the wee hours of the next morning.
Drinks (sweet liquors for the women and stronger drinks for the men) are served as an aperitif before the banquet feast. A commonly heard wedding toast is "Per cent'anni", meaning "For a hundred years".
The wedding feast often begins with antipasto and continues with a sumptuous multi-course dinner. After the meal, wedding cake is served with espresso.
In south Italy the Tarantella, a traditional wedding circle dance, is an integral part of the reception celebration…everyone takes part!
Sometimes the groom's tie is cut into pieces and the pieces are "sold off" to reception guests. The cash is then given to the bride and groom to use on their honeymoon.
In formal weddings the bride and groom's car is often decorated with fresh flowers to symbolize a new and happy life together. In friendly or informal weddings the car is “decorated” of paint and streamers by the couple’s friends.

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