Throughout the world brides bedeck themselves in a vast variety of fashions. Whilst in the west we are used to the traditional Victorian style white gown resplendent with veil and train glittering with brocade and swimming in seed pearls. Throughout the world brides will wear a wide range of styles and fashions that reflect the traditional customs of that culture. A range of dress, styles and decoration contribute to the colour and passion of any marriage ceremony.
A Bonny Wee Lass.
The Scottish are said to be a canny folk and nearly as given to strange ways as the Japanese; don’t believe me? Here are just a few things; Haggis, Black pudding, Bagpipes and Kilts, I won’t even begin with ‘events’ such as Tossing the Caber. So it is with Scottish wedding customs, for in small Scottish towns a bride to be must choose her friends with care. Prior to the big day a brides friends will smear her with all manner of noxious and foul smelling substances, not the least of which would be mud, eggs, off milk and even feathers. Then these ‘friends’ would parade the bride around the town for all and sundry to line up and laugh at the poor bedraggled figure. The reason given for this embarrassing custom? That the bride, after being subjected to all manner of disgusting treatment would then perceive any difficulties in the marriage as mere nothing in comparison. In preparation for the ceremony those self same friends will ensure that the bride is gracefully gowned with her clan tartan cover her shoulders as a shawl or perhaps a sash. Her hair recently lank with slime would be washed and combed and wreathed with ribbons for luck. There would be a silver sixpence in her shoe for wealth. Perhaps the Scots are a canny folk indeed.
And your father smells like Elderberries…
Just a wee ways across the channel to France we have an equally odd custom of Charivari that first came into documented practice in the middle ages but probably has its roots much deeper in time.
Charivari is a mocking serenade to newly-weds on their wedding night, a grand cacophony conjured by the banging of pots and pans, yelling and shouting deprecating comments about both bride and groom. More strangely still the newly married couple must venture from their love nest and placate the rowdy mob with food and drinks before be allowed to consummate what had been so rudely interrupted. Once Charivari was used as a censure for behaviour that the general community felt was scandalous or inappropriate. The concerned citizens would descend upon the couple’s house and decry their behaviour for all to hear. Often the targets were adulterers but also the newly widowed whose rapid remarriage caused a great uproar. The type of Charivari that is practiced today has a light hearted tone about it and whilst it is still a rowdy and certainly odd custom the essence is to bring the families of the newly married together to poke fun and have a laugh.