Traditions are probably not a big part of the Italian culture- several occasions like Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Births, and Anniversaries and of course Weddings have their own traditions and customs. All countries around the globe come up with variety of cultures and traditions and obviously, Italy is not an exception to this! Traditions regarding wedding ceremonies are so captivating, as because they vary from region to region. Basically, Italy comprises of native born citizens. Here, the primary region is Roman Catholic and other religious groups include Judaism, Muslims and Protestant. Most Italian weddings are primarily Roman Catholic and they usually take place during morning.
There are many Italians who desire to get married in the tradition of their ancestors or at least introduce some of the elements from their cultural backgrounds. Basically, they long for a ceremony, which reflects their native heritage. And in order to do this, they need to understand where their relatives and ancestors may have belonged from to organize the wedding, reflecting their heritage.
Let’s follow the most essential traditions of an Italian wedding.
It was an Old Italian tradition that all the wedding functions, including engagement ceremony were organized by the senior members of both the families. Now according to new trend, a man directly proposes a woman, by giving her a ring with a diamond and expressing his love and feelings for her. Diamond rings have been most popular in Italian engagement ceremonies, since 1400’s. Most Italians believe that diamond is the symbol of love, a first step towards new life, a promise to wed and take good care of her soul mate. These long lasting promises are then traditionally preceded with a romantic kiss. After this formal occasion, couples can be considered officially committed.
Throwing an engagement party is probably not so popular in Italian culture like in other countries. What happens in Italy is the couple organizes an informal meeting between two families, allowing them to understand their backgrounds, values and customs. This usually takes place, if this has not happened before and then both the families announce their desire to share a prosperous and happy family life.
Hen and Bachelor Party:
Hen or Bachelorette parties have been introduced by Youngsters in America in the late 1970’s. In Italy these parties are considered as an opportunity to have fun with friends, followed by a nice dinner and drinks. A night out with friends and cousins normally takes place one or two weekends before the wedding day.
Superstitions Regarding Italian Weddings:
The most popular superstition regarding weddings is that a bride has to spend the night before her wedding day at her parent’s house. Some Italian brides wear green dress before the wedding ceremony because it is believed that it brings peace and good fortune. The bride is strictly prohibited to wear any kind of Gold on the wedding day apart from her wedding ring, as it considered as a bad luck. The most fascinating part is that the bride has to wear something new, something old, something blue, something borrowed and something got as a gift. Moreover, it is rude for anyone else other than the bride to wear white dress. Wearing Black dresses is considered good and becoming more and more popular, as they look extremely elegant especially in afternoon weddings.
Wedding Day Traditions:
The Groom is not supposed to see or meet her bride before the wedding day. He nicely waits till the time her bride steps in convoyed by her father, who will then ‘give her away’. After that bride’s father shakes hand with Groom and kisses her daughter and walks back to the first row of benches. This is the most affectionate moment for any bride!
In some regions like Veneto, it is obligatory for the couple to walk to the wedding chapel together. Then, townsfolk put lots of hurdles and obstructions in the bride’s path to observe how she will respond to the domestic situations. In some regions, it is customary that the couple getting married has to cut a log in half with the help of double-handed saw. This shows their partnership and bonding in future life.
Popular Italian Tradition- Folklore:
It is the most popular custom in Italian wedding ceremonies, which is purely accomplished to defend against the evil spirits. An Italian groom is supposed to carry a piece of iron in his pocket. An Italian bride covers her face with the help of veil to avoid envious spirits. Then, tearing her veil is considered good fortune for the couple and their marriage life.
Sunday Marriages are considered to be the blessed Ones in Italy!
Symbolic Foods– Most Italians serve foods that are considered good for the fertility and fortune. And one of those food are ‘confetti’, which are famous Italian candies covered with almonds and tied in adorable mesh bags.
Wedding Reception and Traditions:
In Italy, wedding reception is followed by the Church ceremony and all the guests keep wearing the same dresses. They arrive before the wedding couple at the restaurant.
Buste- a famous tradition
A popular custom ‘buste’ takes place at the arrival of married couple. According to this custom, the bride has to carry a satin bag in which all the guests will place the envelopes of money as a token of love. This custom help overcome the expenses of extremely lavish Italian weddings. This might be the most reward-winning custom for many people. In some regions, the bag is looked after by the bride’s grandmother during the celebrations or the bride might wear it.
Gourmet Food for Reception:
It is an old and most well-liked Italian custom to serve especial Gourmet food in all reception ceremonies. The first course includes sweet liquor and certain beverages that are served to the guests by the ‘best man’. During the first course, all the guests get a chance to cheer a happily married couple, for a hundred years. The menu at Italian reception is as amazing and lavish as the wedding itself. Guests are served with 14 different courses altogether along with expensive wines and other beverages. After dinner, the traditional multi-layered cake is enjoyed with coffee and espresso.
Breaking a Glass at the End:
It is a worth remembering tradition and usually takes place before the reception gets over. According to this custom, the newly married couple breaks a glass. The number of pieces of this crushed glass demonstrates the years; the new couple will share happily. In some wedding ceremonies, a pair of white doves is liberated in the air which reflects the love and bonding between the two.
According to this custom, bride and groom has to give small gifts to their guests, before the end of reception ceremony. This custom symbolizes that the newlywed couple is highly grateful for their participation and contributions. Furthermore, the wedding couple stays till the end of the reception and greets their guests in an affectionate manner. Sometimes few close friends remain with the couple even after the ceremony. Then, all young folks go together for a drink.
Frankly speaking, all these captivating customs, traditions and foods reflect how well-anticipated and joyful an Italian wedding is. Seemingly, these traditions will survive as long as Italy does. So, if you are one of those people who are fond of exploring the customs and fashions of various races and places all around the world then you shouldn’t miss out the Italian Wedding Traditions