In Western weddings, we take a lot of our traditions for granted. Naturally the bride wears white, is presented with a diamond ring for proposal and tosses the bouquet to all the single ladies in attendance. They’ll get something old, new, borrowed, and blue and accept these things without hesitation. These traditions, no matter how commonplace they are today, are all deeply rooted in traditions established and reinforced over time.
Many of the traditional things we do on our wedding day vary greatly from country to country. For instance, not every bride in the world will be dressed in white — symbolizing purity — on her wedding day, as many countries associate the color white with mourning. But while many places around the world don’t give anything new or borrowed on their special day, every country does have its own set of fascinating traditions.
Did you know that in Sweden, if a bride or groom “abandons” their new spouse, even just to go to the bathroom, the solo newlywed is attacked by the guests with kisses? While we all tend to shed an emotional tear or two at weddings, the people of Tuija in China spend literally a month prior to their wedding days crying every single day. You won’t be able to guess which culture puts a sapling on top of their wedding cake, or which one is forced to drink out of a toilet on their wedding night. To learn which cultures practice what traditions, click through to our slideshow. If you are ever lucky enough to attend a wedding elsewhere in the world, you’ll be ready for some of the more interesting practices you aren’t used to seeing here in the West.
This story was originally published on November 13th, 2014.