10 Bizarre Wedding Rituals from around the World

Who doesn’t love weddings? Every culture has its unique traditions and rituals to rejoice marriages. The union of two souls in holy matrimony, preferably, two souls in love, is an occasion celebrated in myriad ways across the globe. Some things, like the nervous jitters of the bride and the cold feet of the groom are common across the countries. However, there are some wedding traditions so bizarre that it makes us wonder just why and how did they originate? And why are they even a thing?


10. The Swedish Kissing Tradition

Usually, traditional Western marriages end with a kiss that makes the audience coo in unison. However, the Swedes are quite a few steps ahead with their tradition of kissing the bride and groom. Whenever the bride leaves the room, the women get in line to kiss the groom. And whenever the groom is absent the men pounce on the bride to shower her with kisses. It seems like the bride and groom get a life time of action before their descent into a monogamous relationship!

9. Shooting Arrows at the Bride!

The Yugur people of the Northwest China’s Gansu Province have elaborate wedding ceremonies that last for at least two days for the ordinary people. The groom shoots three arrows at the bride and then breaks these arrows during the wedding ceremony. These arrows are not actually fitted with arrowheads, they are usually made with rubber casings which do not hurt the bride. According to belief, this ritual makes their love everlasting and that they will live with each other forever.


8. Marriage to a Ghost

This tradition followed in Sudan is that on the death of the husband a woman is married to the brother of the groom. However, any children that are born out of this marriage are considered the children of the deceased spouse. The Nuer women of Sudan also sometimes marry an already deceased man. According to tradition any wealth owned by the woman is the property of the man and thus wealthy women marry dead men to retain their wealth instead of giving it up. Ghost marriages are as common as normal marriages for the Nuer!


7. The Chicken Liver that Decides the Date

In China, an ancient ethnic group living in the Mongolian regions, called the Daur minority use divination to decide the date of the marriage. The young bride and groom join hands and handle a knife together to kill the selected chick. The appearance of the liver of the chick decides the date of the ceremony. If the liver looks unhealthy then the couple kill another chick and extract its liver. Why not simply use a calendar instead of a chicken’s liver to decide the date, hmm?


6. The Blackening of the Bride and Groom!

The Scottish tradition of blackening the bride and groom right before the wedding definitely earns its position on the top of this list. A couple of days before the wedding, the bride and groom are kidnapped by their friends and family and covered in the most disgusting goop possible. The tradition, observed in the Highlands, the Northern Isles and northeastern parts of Scotland usually includes the throwing of rotten food which would stick to the bride and groom. The couple are then paraded around the town for people to witness the occasion. The tradition does not have a specific purpose behind it, so it makes us ask the question, couldn’t you think of anything less messy?


5. Drinking Out of the Toilet.

If you thought you were done with the disgustingly bizarre traditions, well, you were mistaken. In France, after the completion of the wedding ceremony, the friends of the bride and groom would collect leftovers from the wedding and fill the toilet with it. And then they would force the couple to drink out of the toilet bowl. Though in recent times garbage has been substituted by chocolate and champagne, however, the bride and groom are still made to drink out of the toilet bowl. This nasty tradition supposedly strengthens their relationship.


4. Marriage to a Tree?

Yes, you read it right, this bizarre ritual includes the marriage of women to trees. Apparently, it was a widespread tradition in India that was supposed to get rid of the bad luck that was attached to the girl. Once the girl was married to the tree, the tree would be cut down, getting rid of all the evil that could have befallen her. Another such practice was marrying a bachelor to the tree and felling the tree afterwards, which would make the guy a widower. The guy could then marry a widow. So, you can say that this bizarre one was probably for a good purpose.


3. Not Allowing Newlyweds to Use the Bathroom

This bizarre and unhealthy wedding tradition is practiced by the Tidong tribe of Malaysia. The newlywed couple are not allowed to go to the bathroom for three days after the wedding. The couple is watched over by several people and given as little as possible to eat and drink. After the three days are over, they are bathed and permitted to return to a normal, routine life. The Tidong believe that if this ceremony is not observed then very ill luck will visit the couple, possibly a broken marriage, infidelity or even the death of their child. This tradition ensures that the couple enter their marriage with as little filth as possible.


2. The Fattening of the Bride

In Mauritania, the bigger the girl, the more suitors she has. Girls as young as seven or nine are sent to fattening camps where they are fed unnecessarily and to an unhealthy extent. The tradition hopes that these girls achieve womanly curves which would deem them suitable for marriage. This cult of obesity among young girls who are being groomed for suitors like cattle has set the nation back on a course of regression. The belief behind this tradition is that the bigger a woman is in size, the more space she occupies in her husband’s heart. Have you heard of anything stupider?


1. The Kidnapping of the Bride

In Rwanda, the tradition of kidnapping the bride is prevalent and hugely practiced. Many times the abductor will follow a girl and forcefully abduct her. The abduction is usually followed by rape, by the abductor and their companions. The rape ensures that the woman submits the marriage. On several occasions, the abductor impregnates a woman so that she would marry him. The marriage is followed by a ceremony that lasts several days, where the abductor asks the bride’s parents for forgiveness. Sadly, most of these marriages end in abandonment of the bride.

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Afreen Zeb