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German Wedding Traditions
Most people in the United States are aware of the traditions regarding marriage in the United States. June is a popular month for weddings. “Something borrowed, something blue”, “groom’s party” for the parents and the wedding party, “dowry (maybe)”, it is “unlucky to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony”, the father of the bride made a long way down the road with his daughter, and men, do not forget the “stag party”!
But in Germany the favorite month for marriage is May. The traditions regarding marriage in Germany are diverse and vary by region. In addition, some of the young people may not follow the following wedding customs anymore.
Eheringe (Wedding rings)
During the engagement both the bride and groom wear a ring on their left hand. After the wedding they wear the wedding ring on their right hand. Most rings are gold without diamonds.
Brautkleid (Bridal Dress)
In Germany, like in the US, the bride wears “white”. But in Germany the bride wears a short train or often does not have it at all with their wedding dress. If the veil they are long fingers and usually do not wear the face as in the US Often in place of the veil the flower with ribbons worn. Other accessories included may be a Diadem (Tiara), a little draw string purse and gloves. The custom is for the bride to dress at her home or her parents’ home and then drive to the ceremony.
Brautigams Kleidung (God’s Clothes)
The groom usually wears a black suit or a tuxedo (dinner suit)
Die Standesamtliche Trauung (The Wedding Day)
Before the church wedding the bride and groom will be married in the Standesamt (Registry Office) by a registrar who is usually in the Rathaus (town hall). There must be a witness for the bride and the groom.
Die Kirche-Hochzeit (Church Wedding)
Together, the bride and groom will enter the church and walk down the aisle. Because it is illegal to have only one church ceremony, the couple will be legally married by the Standesbeamte. Unlike in the US it is not customary to have a bride, groom or flower girl.
Andere Deutsche Traditionen (Other German Traditions)
Brides usually bring salt and bread as a symbol for a good harvest and the groom brings wheat for wealth and good fortune.
Before the wedding, the bride’s belongings are transported to her new home. These could include the rugs she had collected, the bed where the doll was hidden, and for the wedding of the farmer’s daughter, her parents’ second best cow .
This Bavarian tradition has the invitees in fancy dress decorated with ribbons and flowers going door to door handing out personalized rhyming invitations to the guests. Guests accept by pinning one of the ribbons to the Hochzeitslader hat and offering a drink or two at each station. If the guests are very numerous and the Hochzeitslader is enough to receive the drinks he will need a day or two to complete his work!
Junggesellenabschied (Bachelor Party)
Some weeks before the wedding the groom and his male friends go to the Kneipe (pub) to drink and have fun for the last time as a man.
Polterabend (Wedding Eve)
At a dinner party the night before the wedding plates and dishes were broken to scare away evil spirits. Only the Chinese field is valid. Other things may lead to luck. The bride and groom must wash everything. This shows that they can work together.
Hochzeit-Schuhe (Wedding shoes)
Another tradition is for the bride to collect pennies over the years to pay for her wedding shoes in order to make sure the marriage “gets off” on the right foot. The bride’s mother will put some dill and salt in her daughter’s right shoe.
Baumstam Sagen (Log sawing)
Another old Bavarian tradition takes place after the church ceremony. When the couple left the Church there was a log of a sawhorse and the couple had to cut the log in half! This marks the first difficult task of their future that they can complete together.
Fichtenzweige (Fir boughs)
As the couple walked to the wedding car, fir boughs were laid on the road to pave their first new steps with fresh greens to symbolize hope, luck and fertility.
Reis Werfen (wealth throw)
In this tradition it is said that the rice that remains in the bride’s hair is the number of children the couple will have.
Hochzeitssuppe (Wedding Soup)
Hochzeitssuppe is made of beef, dumplings and vegetables and the guests eat from a large bowl.
Eine Weisse Band (White ribbon)
When the guests leave the church, the bride gives a white ribbon to each driver of the procession to tie to the radio of the car. This process then drives through the city honking their horns. Other drivers on the road honk their horns back and forth to wish the newlyweds luck in their marriage.
Hochzeitstanz (Beautiful dance)
The first dance is danced by the bride and groom and is usually a waltz. The next dance is only for the bride with her father and the groom with his mother, while the bride’s mother dances with the groom’s father.
Brautbecher (Bridal cup)
A culinary tradition of the reception in the south of Germany is made with a special brautbecher (bride cup). The pewter or crystal cup is in the form of a virgin holding above her head a small cup. Both ends of the glass (the bride’s skirt and the top glass) are filled with champagne or wine and the bride and groom drink their first drink from this glass together at the same time. their organization as one. The age old tradition comes from hundreds of years ago in the small town of Nuernberg.
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