We’d like to share with you 12 crazy and odd wedding traditions from around the world. Some of them are less strange, others might blow your mind. Unfortunately, many of these wedding traditions aren’t humane toward brides&grooms, guests, or even animals and plants. But many old traditions seem barbarian and weird today. Though, some of the crazy wedding traditions we offer you to learn about, are actually funny and cute.
If you thought that grown women fighting for a tossed bouquet is a strange sight, you won't believe what people in different countries do before, during, and right after their wedding days.
1. Force-feeding future brides
While most brides spend arduous hours at the gym and monitor every little morsel that goes into their mouth in order to look slim and fit on their big day, custom in Mauritania is the exact opposite. Their young girls and women are fattened up for a practice known as “leblouh”, an intensive feeding session in preparation for marriage. And why? Because the Mauritanian ideal of female beauty is curves, layers of fat, and stretch marks. It's considered living proof that the husband is rich and generous enough to take good care of his wife. To get this shapely figure, young girls are force-fed a fatty feast of dates, peanuts, and couscous. And oatmeal with goat's milk. Totaling a whopping 16,000 calories a day. It’s enough to feed 4 male bodybuilders.
2. Tooth-filing ceremony
The people of Bali believe that 6 negative traits live in every person: lust, greed, wrath, pride, jealousy, and intoxication. For a child to become an adult and ready for marriage, they have to go through a special tooth-filing ceremony. It basically involves filing down all the pointed teeth so that they lie flat with the others. It's done in order to cut down these 6 sins and create a balance between good and evil in the prospective bride or groom. Before you judge too harshly, is our obsession with perfectly straight teeth any different? I mean, are braces and veneers any less crazy?
3. Advice from a chicken liver
The Daur people of China's Inner Mongolia don’t consult with their family or an astrologer to decide if it's time to set the wedding date. The future newlyweds instead take a knife, cut open a baby chicken, and inspect its liver together. If it looks good and healthy, it's a sign to pick the date for the big day; if not, it means they should try again later and keep doing so until they find a perfectly healthy chick liver.
4. Whale tooth offering
If you thought your in-laws were difficult to please, imagine how hard life must be for the young men in Fiji. To marry the girl of their dreams, not only do they have to ask her father's permission, but they also must bring him a whale tooth. It's used as the centerpiece for a necklace called a “tabua”, which symbolizes wealth and high status in society. It's also supposed to bring good luck. With new anti-whaling laws and the crack down on the illegal trade, the price for a “tabua” has skyrocketed to hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
5. Bridal tears
We see engagements and weddings as happy event where you might shed just a couple tears of joy. The Tujia people in Southwest China are a little bit different. In a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, a Tujia bride starts crying a month before her big day. 10 days later, she's joined by her mother. 10 days after that, her grandmother weeps with her as well. And then, her sisters and aunts. They all cry together for an hour every evening. As she's crying, the bride utters different words that make up a legit crying marriage song. And this tearful song is considered an expression of joy!
6. Married to a tree
Some women in India marry trees. All because of their astrological sign. Those, born when both Mars and Saturn are under the 7th house, are believed to be cursed. To break the spell that would make their prospective husband die early, they get married to trees first. The poor tree is destroyed right after the ceremony and the curse is broken. It's totally normal to marry dogs, goats, and other animals for the same reason.
7. Tar-and-feathering the bride
Scottish brides might want to look their best for their wedding but tradition makes it kind of hard. Their friends and family gladly throw molasses, ash, feathers, flour, and even more disgusting things all over them. This blackening right is supposed to scare off evil spirits and bring good luck. Making the bride a filthy mess isn't the end of the story. She's then tied to a tree. The original tradition, back in the 19th century, actually involved blackening and cleaning the bride's feet and legs, but now it simply evolved into fun for the public.
8. Smash it (and clean it up)
Smashing porcelain dishes for luck is common in a lot of cultures, but the Germans take it a step further. The wedding guests get to smash porcelain and ceramic dishware, and the newlyweds have to clean it all up afterwards as their first shared chore together. In some parts of the country, they saw a log in half instead. If they manage to do it without fighting, they're sure to overcome any future obstacles they may face in their life together.
9. Fighting for shoes
It seems like you have enough to worry about on your wedding day already, but Indian grooms have an extra reason to be stressed out. They have to take off their shoes before walking to the altar. Once they finally get there, the battle begins. The groom's side has to protect the shoes from being stolen by the bride's family. Mind you, Indian wedding is never an intimate party for 10, it usually has about 500 guests. Imagine all of them fighting for one pair of shoes.
10. Poker face
If you're ever invited to a wedding in Congo, don't be surprised when you see the faces of the bride and groom. They won't be smiling – and it's not because they hate each other or they're not ready to give up the single life, it's actually to show how serious their commitment to their future family is. The couple isn't allowed to smile throughout the entire ceremony.
11. Human rug
The people of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia have a peculiar way of welcoming their new family members. Once the wedding ceremony is over, all the guests on the bride’s side lie face down in the dirt to make one long human rug. The newlyweds then walk all over them.
12. A good luck spit
Maasai fathers have their own very special way of blessing their newlywed daughters by spitting on their heads and breasts. This way, the father's try to trick fate by showing it that they aren't too supportive of their daughters’ new family. Let's just hope it actually helps.