Today's weddings follow many superstitions and traditions that date back literally hundreds of years. Ever surprised where they came from and why? Many of these traditions were originally based on fertility, wealth, evil and good fortune.
In Anglo-Saxon times a man would select a wife and move her into his home for producing children, cooking and cleaning. Pathhers soon recognized the value of their daughters and introduced a 'fee', if you like. Suiters had to offer the family gifts to show they were able to provide for their daughters. Hundreds of years later, this reversed when fathers began to offer a dowry to the prospective husband. The theory behind it being that the marriage would last as the women had brought something into the marriage. If the marriage broke down, then the husband no longer had control over the dowry.
In the 6th Century early engagements were an agreement between the groom and the bride's father that a marriage would take place. By Victorian times the groom would request permission from the bride's father for his 'daughter's hand in marriage'. Once the permission had been granted, the groom would propose to the prospective bride by asking on bended knee. If accepted, the groom would then have a legal obligation to marry his fiancee and if he jilted her she could sue for a break of promise. Thes days there is no legal obligation to marry from an engagement. In most cases it was the responsibility of the men to propose, but tradition did permit women to propose on February 29th. The engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand, due to the Greek belief that this finger connects to the heart.
Upto the 17th Century Sunday was the most popular wedding day as people did not have to work. However, the Puritans put a stop to this believing that it was improper to celebrate on the Sabbath. Saturday is the most popular day in present times, although more couples are choosing mid week, and eithe side of the weekend to save on costs. If you believed this rhyme, you would never get married on a Saturday.
Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday best of all,
Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, Saturday for no luck at all
Having got the day sorted, what about the time of the year. The old saying, 'Marry in the month of May, and you'll live to regret the day' goes back to the pagans. In the Nineteenth Century there was a rush to get married on April 30th because brides refused to marry during May.
Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind & true,
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden & for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll certainly rue the day.
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