According to a superstition, a tearful bride will be lucky, because tears fertilise the soil like the rain, thus the marriage will be fertile. That is the reason why the rain is not a tragedy on a wedding day, though a romantic open-air wedding party might turn into wallowing soon.
A legend says that the tradition of wedding cakes come from the age of Alexander the Great. They were more like big pies back then, and were not similar to today’s modern works of art. In the Middle Ages, guests often brought small cakes as presents, which were put on one another creating the layer-cake genre. Allegedly, if the married couple could kiss each other over the cakes without overthrowing them they would have a happy life together.
Wearing a wedding ring has a thousand-year past, but there are differences in which finger they wore the rings on. The tradition of wearing a ring on the left ring-finger comes from the ancient cultures, and can be traced back to a legend that survived until the 20th century: they thought that a blood vessel leads from that finger directly to the heart. Nowadays, an engagement is indicated by a ring on the left hand, and the ring moves to the right hand after the wedding. The tradition is not the same everywhere. For example, in the Jewish tradition the wedding ring decorates the index finger. Interestingly, the engagement does not precede the wedding in case of neologist Jewish weddings or Székely weddings in Bukovina. It is usually held on the same day before the wedding ceremony.
The widespread knowledge is that young brides wear white wedding dresses because white symbolises purity, but it is not absolutely true. The tradition of the white dress spread after the Second World War, and before that time, couples wore their most beautiful clothes in front of the altar. If they wanted to express their purity, they chose the blue colour because it is the Virgin Mary’s colour.
Something blue, something new, something old and something borrowed
There are a lot of options. The question is whether the bride wants to show the blue thing: shoes, shoe-soles or suspenders can be blue. The borrowed thing symbolises the support: the bride’s family and friends will be with the bride on that special day and after the wedding as well. The old thing symbolises the bride’s relationship with her old family. It can be a part of her outfit: a jewel or a veil.
Abduction of the bride
Abduction of women is an ‘old’ tradition. Just think about the Sabine women or Hunor and Magor (in Hungarian mythology). Nowadays, it has a completely different role. It aims to separate the couple for a short time. It is a last challenge to the bridegroom in order to find out if he deserves the bride’s love, if he can save her and if he is able to find her. When he has completed his mission, the next usual task is to drink champagne from the found bride’s shoe. In the newsreel below this tradition is evoked: outlaws from Cegléd ‘abduct’ a bride. Although the outcome could not be seen, the action must have reached the same idyllic end as it could be expected.
Isn’t it strange that one is willing to do all these things, like complying with superstitions from the metre-long cakes through something blue to the abduction of the bride? Everything for the happy ending. Nevertheless, this spring has not become less capricious than the earlier ones were, but you don’t have to be afraid of one thing: the rain in May cannot do any harm. As you know it is much more difficult to ravel out a wet knot.
Translated by Zita Aknai