As a born and bred Londoner I can easily say that one of the best things about living in London has to be the variety of cultures, religions and ethnicities enriched in this vibrant city. London truly is a multi cultural spectrum of different types of people.
One of the main occasions where we get to see and participate in different cultural celebrations is throughout wedding season.
As we have just left wedding season I’m sure it’s fair to say that many of us have had the pleasure of watching loved ones tie the knot – or in some cultures jump the broom.
Even though cultures differentiate when it comes to wedding traditions, one aspect that they all have in common is the desire to have a memorable perfect day.
Incorporating cultural elements into a wedding is something many brides and grooms do in order to follow in the footsteps of and honour their ancestors. From the actual wedding ceremonies to the reception events – such incorporations are great ways to share personal elements with friends and other guests, as well as pay homage to their families in a lavish way.
Weddings are intimate celebrations of love and unity and, whether big or small the visuals usually go unnoticed. Some of the main ways cultures are embodied are through music, food, decorations, and clothing.
Below we have highlighted some of the different traditional looks taken from African and Asian weddings.
Indian weddings are bright, colourful, and vibrant to say the least. In Indian culture the rising sun and Mars are associated with marriage; brides therefore wear red to represent these two planets. They also use Henna art designs on their hands and feet, it is believed that the longer and more detailed the design the longer the marriage will last. These symbols are believed to bring fertility and prosperity.
In Somalian weddings the location, family traditions, and personal preferences are all taken into consideration when choosing wedding attire. Modern somailan attire is a mixture of different aspects which make up Somali culture. According to http://bit.ly/2x2tPFg “Traditionally Somali dress for women includes a beautiful dirac or Guntiino, a garbasaar head covering, and a googaro slip for under the dress.” Traditionally the women are decorated with henna and wear gold makeup and jewellery.
As many Eritreans subscribe to the Christianity/Catholic religion they often follow similar wedding traditions accustom to the western world. These brides usually tend to wear white wedding dresses on the first day of their 2 day ceremonies, and wear traditional wear on the second day.
SOUTH AFRICAN WEDDING
There are many different tribes in South Africa – each with their own individual symbolic wedding attire. One of the most dominant tribes is the Zulu. In Zulu culture women wear different clothing at different stages of their lives. Zulu brides cover themselves in order to show that they are taken, and a thick cowhide skirt that has been softened with animal fat and charcoal. Traditionally, women used cloth to cover their breasts, but cotton vests or beaded bras are worn along with beaded necklaces in order to modernise the attire.
The most recognisable item of clothing are the circular-shaped hats called izicolo, which are worn by married women. These hats were traditionally made of grass and cotton and measured as much as a metre across to protect the wearer from the sun.
Interesting Fact: Red is sometimes favoured by Muslim brides because when India included Pakistan and Bangladesh (before 1947), and Hindu and Muslim cultures were mixed, the symbolism, sometimes, also crossed over. The colour red in a Hindu’s culture signifies the sun and therefore a lot of Muslim’s also wear it in order to represent this symbol. – http://bit.ly/2xu6uwa
It’s also worth nothing that from November – February there are tons of wedding fairs taking place; so if you’re a bride to be – or simply just interested in weddings be sure to check them out!!
Images courtesy of Google and Pinterest