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When it comes to planning a wedding, people have to worry not only about food,
flowers, and what they wear, they also have to honor many traditions, even if they don't
understand their origins or meanings. However, to not follow these traditions,
understood or not, might mean bad luck for the marriage or, at the very least, disgruntled
Every culture cherishes its own marriage traditions and superstitions. Many are
not understood but are still seriously followed because "it's always been done that way"
(Kendrick). Even people not normally superstitious wouldn't think of violating these
Many traditions originated from old rhymes, folktales or tribal traditions whose
origins are lost in time. For example, one of the original meanings of the word
"wedding" was to gamble or wager. This comes from the time when a bride price was
required before marriage. This bride price could include land, social status, political
alliances or money. Thus, the "Anglo-Saxon word 'wedd' meant that the groom would
vow to marry the woman, but it also referred to the bride price (money or barter) to be
paid by the groom to the bride's father" (Kendrick).
There are equally surprising origins for such traditions as the ring finger, wedding
ring, engagement ring (and its diamond), and wedding cake. For example, the finger
used as the ring finger differs from culture to culture. In Greece during the third century
the index finger was used. In India they used the thumb. The "modern" ring finger
started being used in the fourth century when the Greeks originated the belief that the
third finger was connected to the heart by the "vena amoris," or the vein of love.
Use of a wedding ring can be traced back to Roman times, and even back then it
was made of gold. Roman rings were often decorated with a carving of two hands to
symbolize two people journeying through life together as one. Early women's rings also
had keys carved in them, symbolizing that women were able to unlock the hearts of their
It was "Pope Nicholas I [in 860 AD, who first] decreed an engagement ring become a
required statement of nuptial intent," (Kendrick). He insisted that this ring also be made
of gold, it's worth requiring a sacrifice on the man's part for the woman he was about to
marry. This ring went up in value in the fifteenth century when a diamond was added to
it. It was believed that the diamond's durability and strength would symbolized the
Most of these traditions deal with the strength of the
Quotes talked about in this paper
Names mentioned in this research paper
Kendrick, Van Ostrom, Karl, Cake, Mihanovich, Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Ann, Brittany (Kendrick,
Locations referenced in this research paper
the Greeks, India,
Keywords talked about in this research paper
bride, wedding, wedding cakes, ring fingers, bride price, wedding ring, a wedding, wedding traditions, engagement ring, the bride price, wedding dress, bad luck, wedding veil, wedding night, fourteenth century, to toss, gowns, index finger, diamond, first century, fifteenth century, Roman rings, something blue, to not, married life, good luck, vena amoris, honeymoon, bridal gown, Victorian times, political alliances, refined sugar, ceremony, ancient times, color, Pope Nicholas I, new dress, Napoleon III, social status, Queen Victoria, superstitions, Greeks, rhyme, tiers, ugly, the cake, fourth century, knot, fathers, the true meaning,