Superstitions, customs and traditions

Superstitions, customs, and traditions

by Raquel Elekes from A Timeless Memory

Every country and family has them. When a family comes together in celebration, they share and pass on special ones to each new member.These are our Traditions, our Customs and sometimes, passed on from generation to generation, our Superstitions. When sitting down to plan a Wedding these are often the very first things discussed. Some are automatic like finding something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Some we have heard about but are not always sure Why we have to do them. What will happen if we choose NOT to? What is the difference between a Custom, a Tradition and a Superstition?

Start with the easiest one. Customs. A Custom is something that is standard through out either the country of your heritage or the country you live in. For example; In Italy, sugar coated almonds are wrapped in netting and given out at the reception. In Poland money is pinned to the Brides gown to help the couple set up their new home. In Russia, the guests receive small thank you gifts for attending the Wedding. A flower girl throwing rose petals as she walks down the aisle before the bride is an old custom in England. The Bride and Groom holding candles trimmed with flowers and ribbons, placing them at the alter beside the unity candle and then used to light the unity candle during the ceremony, is a custom in Germany. In Switzerland, a junior bridesmaid would lead the procession to the reception by passing out colored handkerchiefs to the guests along the way. Each guest would then in turn give a coin to the bridesmaid for the starting up of the new home. Long ago, in certain regions of Spain, the bride wore a black silk dress and mantilla.  Orange blossoms in her hair was the flower of the day.  The groom wore a tucked shirt which had been hand embroidered by the bride.

These are only a few examples of some customs from a couple different countries. We use a lot of these customs here in the US. They may have been brought over generations ago and have now branched out and become family Traditions. If you are unaware of the customs of your heritage, ask older family members about their weddings, they will love to share. Ask a Wedding Planner, we study history for all countries and not just the ones we are living in and we have no problem sharing the information you are looking for.

Traditions are customs or symbols that hold special meaning to each family or individual and are passed down from generation to generation. They can begin at any time with anyone from any background. It is up to each individual to decide whether or not to carry on each Tradition, depending on what it means to them. If a Tradition has skipped a generation, you can choose to incorporate it into your Wedding or let it go on to the next person.In my family, when my sister, my mother, her mother, my mother’s mother etc… celebrated their weddings, each had Fruitcake. This cake was laced in bourbon and brandy through out the engagement period, then wrapped in white fondant and decorated as their Wedding cake.This is an Irish Custom and now a family tradition. We also incorporate “hand-fasting” into our ceremony. A long woven rope is wrapped around the Bride and Groom’s left hands and tied after the vows and during the blessing. This symbolizes the joining of 2 souls and binds you together ’til death do you part. One of the reasons we call the ceremony “tying the knot”. A symbolic custom, now a Tradition.

Superstition. What will happen if you don’t do certain things on your Wedding day? Will bad things actually happen to you or your brand new spouse? I think it is all a matter of what you believe and how much history you know.  This is where things become interesting. Most superstitions have a history and can actually be explained. The Bride and groom cannot see each other before the ceremony. This particular superstition dates back to arranged marriages out of necessity. The groom and the father would negotiate a dowry and an agreement would be made. The groom would not see his bride until the vows were said and the veil was lifted. This way the groom could not change his mind at the last minute and break the agreement.

Brides wear a veil covering her face and marries with bridesmaids to confuse evil spirits. With the bride covered and other women around her, the spirits would be confused and go away.A white wedding dress is in no way indicative of The “purity” of the bride-to-be. In fact, white is not accorded as a symbol of chastity, but of joy.Queen Victoria started the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.

“Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue”.Traditionally, the “old” would have been the garter of a happily married woman, so that her good fortune would be passed down along with it. The “new” is for a new bright and happy future together.“Something borrowed” is usually an item from the bride’s family.“Something blue” is from an ancient tradition in which the bride would wear a blue ribbon in her hair as a symbol for fidelity.

Very few superstitions actually still apply. We, as people have evolved and grown since these were put into practice. Most of us know that sometimes finding a spider on our wedding gown the day of our wedding means nothing more than just finding a spider. If you, as the bride exit your house from the side door instead of the front, if you exit left foot first instead of right…you will still have the most wonderful day of your life and if you are marrying the man of your dreams, you will have the most wonderful life together regardless of whether you saw a nun on the way to the church or not! There are so many superstitions attached to the engagement period and actual wedding day that it would almost be impossible to follow and carry out all of them. They are very interesting to learn though and might provide a giggle!

So talk to family about important Traditions that have been passed down. Ask about your heritage and find out if there is maybe a custom or two you would like to start at your wedding and by all means read about all the superstitions and have a laugh, its supposed to be a joyful time in your life. In the end your day will be what you make it!

For more information please contact

Raquel Elekes
A Timeless Memory

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