Weddings are a time of great celebration throughout the world, but it’s often the banquet food that really gets people in the party mood — we’re talking about the snacks and hors d’oeuvres, what the bride and groom choose to serve as the main course and, of course, that wedding cake!
Food has a very important role to play at these events and it also plays an important part in how people will remember the special day. No matter where you are in the world there are banquet food traditions that are often worked into the ceremony or reception that give the occasion gravitas and added meaning.
Some of these traditions are very old, dating back hundreds of years and are closely tied to the culture and history of a country and its people. Other traditions also have strong ties to the seasons or the food local to the area. No matter what, they are loaded with symbolism for the new couple.
Each culture across the world has its own special wedding banquet foods they prefer. In Greece and much of the Mediterranean region, there is much emphasis placed on the ceremony of breaking bread, which is usually done with a chunk of a sourdough loaf that is broken above the couples heads to symbolize their strength in overcoming life’s problems together. In Sweden, most brides request a “princess cake" to be served at their wedding — based on one made for the royal sister before the birth of Carl XVI Gustaf, the reigning king of Sweden. The cake is decadent and marzipan sweet, with layers of raspberries and cream.
In Zimbabwe, weddings are a community affair. Back in times when there was little meat available, weddings were an occasion for the whole village to come over and share one hearty and meaty meal. These days the tradition continues with guest being served a meat stew with local dishes to accompany it.
Read on to find out more about how people around the world celebrate their weddings with marvelous meals and banquet traditions.
In this centuries old tradition, the mother of the bride or groom breaks a loaf of sourdough bread above the couple’s heads (usually at the entrance of their home before they enter as the receptions are often held there). It represents the newlyweds ability to weather any of life’s challenges and build a strong home and family as equals. The saying "to break bread," is believed to have come from this Greek wedding tradition.
Goat meat is popular in Mexican cooking and there are many legends and traditions involving goats and goat meat in Mexican culture and history. For weddings, a goat meat dish called birria is purported to have magical aphrodisiac qualities — it’s served to bride and groom to help them along in building a large family. Sometimes lamb, pork, or beef is used instead of goat, but the meat is always cooked traditionally: In a hole in the ground filled with hot rocks, coals, and a clay pot (which is lined with maguey leaves and the meat). It’s then left to roast for several hours on the wedding day.