The first curiosity about marriage : it was formalized by law and definitively established in Rome. Men could marry after age 14 and women after age 12.
The custom of wedding rings also comes from ancient Rome. The reason is another curiosity about marriage: at that time, it was believed that a vein started from the ring finger that ended straight to the heart. Indeed, this belief has persisted for several centuries.
The white dress only appeared around 1840. Before that, women married any color. It was Queen Victoria who inaugurated the total white and since then it has become a tradition. The British queen was also the first bride to use the wedding march. What other curiosities about marriage?
Marriage in history
The marriage of love is a rather recent “invention” . From Roman times up to and including the nineteenth century, it was a civil institution with essentially patrimonial effects. We married “cold” to ensure economic stability.
This did not happen only between aristocratic families, but in all social strata. The marriage was an agreement between the father of the bride and the groom. It was, therefore, a question of economic and social convenience, rather than sentimental. Divorce remained unacceptable in most countries until well into the 20th century.
When the idea of romantic love began to assert itself, the occasions to find a party were the dances – for the wealthy classes – the fairs for the people. Everyone knew that people were going there to look for a husband or wife. Another way to get married was to take a few looks during religious services.
At one time, it was frowned upon for a woman to flirt or show interest in a man. In theory, showing off indifference was a sign of respectability.
This did not prevent the creation of a love language between man and woman through fans, handkerchiefs and umbrellas. Each gesture made with one of these accessories had a precise meaning.
Curiosities about marriage: the different traditions
All over the world there are special ways to wish the bride and groom a happy life and to make love a celebration. Let’s take a look at some curious wedding traditions:
- In the Fiji Islands there is an unusual custom: the groom must bring her father a whale tooth. It is a test of courage but, above all, of true love.
- In Polterabend, Germany, before the ceremony, the couple’s friends and relatives get together for a very special activity: breaking porcelain crockery. A gesture that should bring luck to the spouses.
- In South Korea they are more impetuous. By tradition, the groom’s friends tie his feet during the wedding banquet. Then they hit the soles of his feet with a fish. It is a way to test the character of man.
- In Russia they prefer to kidnap the future bride. That’s right: kidnap her. The guests hold her back and ask the groom for a ransom, sometimes symbolic, but others… not so much. Once the sum has been paid, the woman is released.
- Blackening or blackening of the spouses: it is a Scottish tradition that is celebrated the day before the wedding. The couple’s friends smear their boyfriends with mud and parade them through the streets. It should be a way to warn the spouses that they will be happy, but they will also go through difficult times.
- The Swedish kisses. This is perhaps one of the funniest wedding trivia. In Sweden, during the reception, when the bride gets up from the table and leaves the room, all the girls can kiss the groom on the cheek. The boys can do the same to the bride when he goes out.
Finally, the divorce …
The institution of marriage remained relatively stable until the 1960s. The advent of birth control and divorce changed many things.
It is estimated that in the United States between 1966 and 1969, separations increased by 100%. Phenomenon destined to repeat itself in many countries of the world.