Friday, April 9, 2010

Scandinavian Traditional Weddings

In different Scandinavian societies, horns and fiddlers accompany a nuptial procession to the church. It is the custom in Sweden for parents of the bride to practice an old traditional wedding custom. Prior to the bride leaving for the church the mother gives her a gold coin, which is put in her right shoe. The father gives her a silver coin which is placed in the left shoe. The reason for this tradition is to ensure that their daughter does not lack anything. After exchanging the vows the bride wears three bands on the wedding finger. One is of course the engagement ring, the other a wedding ring while the last is a ring symbolizing motherhood. Scandinavians have the longest engagement periods, which could last up to four years. In Denmark it is traditional to build an arch of pine branches in front of the bride’s home. The arch is called the gate of honor. People going or coming out of the bride’s home would go through the arch and it serves to remind them of the couple’s engagement. It is also symbolic of the groom’s dedication and protection. Prior to the wedding vows, the groom lifts the veil off the bride face. The wedding cake is cut by the couple that is supposed to hold a knife together, a tradition believed to bring them good luck.

After they are married they attend the wedding reception. There the traditional wedding toast called skoal is conducted using specially brewed beer. The married couple opens the dance floor and guests join them. There is much drinking, eating and merrymaking. Both the groom and bride secretly escape from the nuptial reception but at different times. The first to leave is the groom, who disappears during the ceremony so that the young unmarried men can freely kiss the bride. Later the bride also disappears and the groom returns to be kissed by the unmarried girls. In Finland the bride-to-be walks from house to house collecting wedding presents in a pillowcase. An older married man walks her to the houses, holding an umbrella over her head to symbolize protection and shelter. The bride wears a golden crown. At the nuptial reception the bride is blindfolded and spun about while unmarried girls dance around her. This is a period of intense revelry, merrymaking and dancing. While still blindfolded, the bride tries to get hold of the girls dancing around her, though she is not able to see them. Finally, the girl that picks and places the golden crown on her head will have been selected to be the girl that is supposed to marry next. In Norway when a couple marries, neighbors and friends plant two small pines. They are placed on each side of the couple’s front door. This gesture is to signify the couple’s fertility. Norwegian brides wear silver crowns with silver charms that hang all around the crown. When she walks the charms tinkle and produce beautiful sounds that are believed to ward off evil spirits.

Source : videobabylon

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