Three old wedding traditions designed to keep evil spirits away
There are a bunch of traditions that we follow in everything we do during our special occasions. This is no different for our wedding ceremonies. But do you know how these traditions arose and why they were started in the first instance?
Ever wondered about the bouquet
The bride traditionally carries a bouquet. This is actually something really awkward to carry and most brides give the bouquet to the maid of honour to hold during the ceremony and gets rid of it as soon after the photos have been taken as she can. It gets in the way.
So why carry one?
The reason stems from bygone days. Those were the days where we all believed in evil spirits and spooks that could destroy our future for us. It was believed that herbal plants and spices could chase away bad spirits. The smell given off by the bouquet was supposed to put off these unwanted wedding guests especially those wanting to ‘possess’ the bride.
Of course this reason has been lost in the sands of time and bridal bouquets now feature flowers, ribbons and other elements that the tradition might dictate to be of good fortune or of personal significance to the bride.
What about the veil?
It is thought that the veil is worn to denote chastity. This is of course a contradiction as most modern brides are not necessarily reputed to be practicing abstinence. But in fact the veil had nothing to do with chastity.
Again going back to the days of evil spirits and their possessing of the bride, the bride would wear a veil so as not to be spotted by evil spirits. And the bridesmaids were supposed surround the bride so that no evils could get at the main person.
It could also be perhaps an attempt to keep the bride from view so that she would not be abducted by neighbouring young suitors who were struggling to find one of their own. It must be remembered, especially in Arabic and Asian cultures, that a women who had intercourse with another man was now no longer desirable. Care had to be taken to ensure that she made it safely to the altar.
Flower girls of whatever age are cute and add that ‘aw shucks’ element to any wedding. However, flower girls had their own special purpose in the olden days. Flowers were meant to ward off evil spirits (those evil spirits again). It was tradition for not only the bride and groom to wear flowers in the hair and a button hole for the groom but also to have flowers strewn ahead of them while they walked into the church for the ceremony. All to keep the evil spirits at bay.
It’s fun following traditions. Things our parents did when they got married, or their parents even before them. But do we actually know where they originated from and what their meaning was? Interesting that the above three were performed in order to keep evil spirits away!