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Wedding traditions and customs
'Til death or distance do us part : marriage and the making of African America
Frances Smith Foster.
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
Conventional wisdom tells us that marriage was illegal for African Americans during the antebellum era, and that if people married at all, their vows were tenuous ones: "until death or distance do us part." It is an impression that imbues beliefs about black families to this day. But it's a perception primarily based on documents produced by abolitionists, the state, or other partisans. It doesn't tell the whole story. Drawing on a trove of less well-known sources including family histories, folk stories, memoirs, sermons, and especially the fascinating writings from the Afro-Protestant Press, 'Til Death or Distance Do Us Part offers a radically different perspective on antebellum love and family life. Frances Smith Foster applies the knowledge she's developed over a lifetime of reading and thinking. Advocating both the potency of skepticism and the importance of story-telling, her book shows the way toward a more genuine, more affirmative understanding of African American romance, both then and now.
     
The creative Jewish wedding book : a hands-on guide to new & old traditions, ceremonies & celebrations
Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer.
Woodstock, VT : Jewish Lights Pub., c2009.
This inspiring and useful guide brings your complete wedding planning into focus. It helps you express your individuality and spirituality on your wedding day. Whether your plans are traditional or alternative, whether you are planning your first or second marriage, it provides the tools you need to look at and think about ritual and tradition in new and innovative ways.
     
The everything Jewish wedding book : Mazel tov! From the chuppah to the hora, all you need for your big day
Rabbi Hyim Shafner.
Avon, Mass. : Adams Media Corp., c2009.
From reciting the Kiddush (sanctification prayer) to building the chuppah (wedding canopy), the details of a Jewish wedding can be overwhelming! This wedding guide helps newlyweds understand tradition and plan a wedding they’ll cherish forever. Written by a rabbi who has performed many weddings, this informative guide will help people navigate: the Judaic concept of marriage; engagement etiquette; the proper way to introduce the families; how to confer with a rabbi and the ritual director; the business of incorporating family heirlooms; and more! Whether the wedding is joining two Jewish people or an interfaith couple, this book is a must-have survival guide for any chatan (groom) or kallah (bride).
     

Every part of a wedding has rich history. Cultural roots, ancestry, and religious beliefs have shaped marriages for thousands of years. 

The giving of almond favors is connected with the motto: 'A gift of five almonds represents health, wealth, long life, fertility and happiness'

Today, couples are incorporating past traditions and customs into their wedding as a way to add originality, as well as to pay a special tribute to their heritage.

  • A day before the wedding, an Indian bride and her female friends and relatives gather for the ceremony of Mehendi, in which her palms and feet are decorated with henna.
  • Wedding flower petals are scattered by a young girl preceding the English bride and her wedding party, as they walk to the wedding chapel. The flowered path and symbolic walk express hope for the bride's path through life to be happy and lovely.
  • Japanese brides will wear several different robes on her wedding day: going to the temple, the ceremony, to greet people, for dinner and another for going away.
  • A Greek bride may carry a lump of sugar on her wedding day to ensure she has a sweet life.
  • Jumping the Broom is based on African-American traditions and was created to signify the new union that would not be legally recognized. The jumping of the broom is a symbol of sweeping away of the old and welcoming the new.
  • It is customary for a Mexican groom to give his bride a wedding present of thirteen gold coins (arras), signifying good wishes for prosperity.
  • As French couples depart from church, laurel leaves are scattered outside the exit.
  • At the Chinese wedding banquet foods are served for their symbolism; noodles, for their length signifying long life, and desserts that contain lotus seeds as a wish for the couple to have many children.
  • At an Italian reception, candy-covered almonds are given to the guests to represent the bitter and sweet things in life. A traditional dance would be the tarantella.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff