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Wedding traditions in Asia

Many traditions, many points in common

There is a wide variety of wedding traditions in Asia, and religions differ from one country to another, but usually found in Asian countries is the idea that the newlyweds are about to make a long journey together. They and their guests therefore make every effort to ensure that luck is on their side in their new adventure.

There is therefore a great deal of symbolism at Asian weddings: the outfits, the traditions that largely involve the parents of the couple, the decorations and wedding rituals at religious ceremonies. These ancestral symbols are used to represent love, health, happiness or prosperity.

There are other similarities to several countries in Asia in regard to marriage such as the exchange of gifts between families and visiting those who are able to predict whether or not the union will be happy and fertile. Marriages in Asia place great emphasis on the couple’s parents and the rest of the family, and in many countries, it is customary for the wedding to take place only with the couple’s closest relatives.

Asian wedding traditions are also synonymous with amazing and colorful outfits. Here is a selection of traditional Asian wedding traditions that take us on a journey through the different ways to celebrate what is, for the vast majority of men and women in Asia, the most important event in their life.

Weddings in Japan: a very expensive day

At a traditional Japanese Shinto wedding, the bride and groom usually wear Japanese wedding kimono. The bride wears a white wedding kimono with a white traditional Japanese headdress. This is a very heavy outfit that makes it hard for the bride to move easily. It is common for the bride to change several times during a wedding ceremony in Japan. A traditional Japanese wedding allows the bride to wear an exceptionally fine kimono with exquisite embroidery and tiny delicate flowers. The groom's kimono is usually black and has his family's symbol embroidered in white.

japanese-wedding

A wedding following the Shinto religion emphasizes the blessing of the couple by the natural spirits. In a Buddhist wedding, tradition has it that necklaces are exchanged as symbols of marriage but also representing the two families that are now united.

Religious ceremonies do not involve members of the family. Shinto marriage allows the couple to go to a sanctuary to make an offering to the gods.

Another ritual for the bride and groom consists of drinking several cups of sake immediately after the ceremony.

As for the wedding reception, a lot of fun is usually had, with the typical karaoke which is unmissable entertainment at a Japanese wedding and at all parties and celebrations overall. Japanese weddings are known throughout Asia to be extremely happy and festive.

It is customary to offer the bride and groom an envelope containing money collected by the wedding guests and traditionally, well-off couples in Japan also give a gift to their guests. Marriage in Japan is also a centuries-old opportunity for people to affirm their social status. 

Weddings in China: family first

In China, traditionally, the bride wears red, as it is a color that symbolizes good luck, but it also represents love and happiness. Many wedding accessories are also in red, such as decorative items or gift wrapping. The color also predominates in the homes of the two families before the big day.

china-weddingIt is customary for a Chinese bride to spend a lot of time with her family before her marriage, as if to say goodbye. The groom's family comes to visit her to offer their gifts. Traditionally, food is offered. A Chinese groom also wears red or perhaps black and in a highly symbolic gesture, his parents help him dress. Silk Chinese wedding outfits are beautiful with many golden details.

In China the wedding date is mainly decided by looking at the Chinese astrological signs of the bride and groom, and everything is calculated to ensure that it is a lucky day. It is customary to serve tea to the couple’s parents before and also after the ceremony. This cake, generally very impressive, is cut by the bride and groom themselves. This is a very important step of the wedding ceremony in China. Part of the wedding cake is also reserved for parents and grandparents, who play a vital role throughout the marriage. In China too, as in Japan, the bride may change clothes several times.

Weddings in Indonesia, Korea and India: exuberant celebrations

hennaMarriages in Indonesia have the characteristic of involving large numbers of people and the bride and groom are required to greet each person one by one before the party begins.

In Korea, the tradition is for the couple to consult a psychic to predict their common future. Again, the custom of exchanging gifts between families is required and where marriage is concerned, the Koreans are not fussy about how much they spend.

A bride and groom in India cannot see one another before the wedding ceremony for several days in a row. The most crucial part of the ceremony consists of warding off evil spirits. Vows are exchanged under a shower of flower petals.

An Indian wedding is heavily loaded with colors, usually with an abundance of flowers, rich jewelry, and warm colors like red and orange.

Weddings in Thailand: rituals and symbols

A traditional wedding in Thailand is organized by the families who first seek the advice of the monks to see if the stars of the future bride and groom mean that they will be happy. It is not uncommon to ring bells to announce weddings in Thailand and the groom is accompanied by singing into the bride's house to offer her gifts.

Traditionally, the bride and groom make an offering to the monks by giving them something to eat so that they therefore receive their blessing. Today, the couple are more likely to offer money to the monks.

A highly symbolic ritual is to tie the hands of the couple with flower garlands. In the past, a wedding in Thailand, like a Chinese wedding, was celebrated in strict family intimacy.

Traditional weddings in Russia: ever-present superstitions and grandiose celebration

In Russia, the civil ceremony is a formality that couples get through in two minutes flat one after the other and on any day of the week. In contrast, a traditional Russian wedding is above all a big celebration that can last for two full days where guests dance, sing, laugh, eat and drink.

When the guests have finished listening to the speeches made by a family member or friend of the couple, they propose a toast and throw their glasses over their shoulder.

In Russia, there are many rituals before and during the wedding as a Russian wedding is surrounded by many superstitions and beliefs. According to tradition, it is essential to ward off evil and to do everything for the marriage to be placed under the sign of luck and success that will ensure eternal happiness for the newlyweds.

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