The Strange Reasons For That Wedding Tradition
There are a lot of wedding traditions that we don’t even know why we do them. We’ve just done them for so long, that they seem normal to us now. I attend a lot of wedding ceremonies and am able to talk to a lot of interesting people who live and breathe weddings as well. I’ve been told some very fascinating facts about weddings that I want to share with you!
1. Do you know why we traditionally have the groom walk on the right hand side of their bride during the wedding ceremony?
It’s because years ago, the groom used to have to defend his right to marry his bride. He would stand on the right side of his bride so that his right hand was still free (his bride would hold his left arm). That way he could keep his sward in his hand and be able to fight off anyone who was going to try to steal his bride.
2. Why do some couples jump over the broomstick?
How did that start? In the mid to late 1800’s a “broomstick marriage” was a marriage that had uncertain legitimacy. Elopements were considered a broomstick marriage because most people did not think that the couple was truly married. A quick elopement was referred to as un mariage sur la croix de l’épée (literally ‘marriage on the cross of the sword’). An English translator interpreted it to be ‘performed the marriage ceremony by leaping over a broomstick’. It became that couples would consummate their marriage by jumping the broom. This tradition is very common with African American couples because in the mid 1800’s slaves were not permitted to wed legally. Jumping the broom was their way of proving their union.
3. The Chinese also have a theory as to why we wear our rings on our fourth finger.
They believe that each finger represents a person in our life (our thumbs are our parents, index finger are our siblings, middle finger is our self, ring finger is our life partner and our pinkie finger is our children). Putting our hands together and pushing our palms out so your fingers are what are touching; the ring fingers are the only fingers that cannot be released when we try to separate them. Check out this video on YouTube. It explains this theory in more depth.
Chinese explanation for a ring finger wedding ring
4. Do you know why we traditionally put our engagement/wedding ring on our fourth finger of our left hand?
It’s because before medical science proved otherwise, people believe that there was a vein in that finger and it ran directly to the heart. This vein was known as the ‘vena amoris’ also known as the vein of love. Because of this belief, couples began wearing their rings on the fourth finger of their left hand to symbolize their love for each other.
I enjoy learning about the reasons behind wedding traditions. Some of these reasons for these rituals may seem ridiculous, but in the end, they make our weddings. Without them, we would have such different, unrecognizable weddings.