14 Facts About Jewish Wedding Traditions

Different cultures have different traditions regarding the joining of man and woman as husband and wife. The Jews are a nation of people originally from Israel. Their culture is strongly intertwined with their religion, Judaism. A wedding ceremony is an important event for Jews and is treated with the utmost delicacy and respect. I had the rare opportunity to witness one when one of my high school friends got married to the love of her life. I got to experience the whole ceremony as a friend of the bride. Here are a few things I found exceptionally interesting.

  1. The wedding date is another important decision

The wedding day is also not appointed by chance. This occasion is not celebrated on the day of Shabbat, which lasts from Friday sunset to Saturday evening. It is prohibited to conduct wedding rituals during other Jewish holidays, such as the Jewish New Year. Thus, the date chosen was free from other religious holidays.

 

  1. Ketubah reading

The Ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract. I was impressed how serious these folks consider marriage: they read aloud their responsibilities as wife and husband. The groom is swearing to protect his future wife rights and provide her with shelter and food. If you are going to get married and don’t know how to choose the Ketubah, you can use custom essays for cheap to get a basic text for the ceremony.

  1. The Veiling Ceremony

The veiling ceremony, known as the Bedeken, takes place in private with families from both sides before any other aspect of the wedding celebration. Veil symbolizes the principle of unconditional love to the human being.

  1. The canopy

The couple usually stands under a makeshift canopy, made from just four wooden poles and a white cloth. They exchange rings under it, get blessed and share a cup of wine in the ceremony. The spaces between the poles are thought to symbolize the transparent relations between the couple and their families, as well as their friends.

  1. No stones on the rings

Exchange of rings is perhaps one of the most important Jewish wedding rituals that highlight the true beginning of the marriage. Jewish wedding rings are gold and plain most of the time. Simplicity symbolizes the purity of love. No gems or stones are allowed to decorate the rings.

  1. Couple fasts before the wedding day

The wedding day is a day of happiness and forgiveness. Thus, Jewish couples clear their thoughts and bodies to prepare for this beautiful day. After the festive ceremony, they end their fasting and try their first meal together.

My friend took a break from food and spent the day before the ceremony meditating. I later got to know that a person’s wedding day is like the Atonement Day, a day when all the sins of the person are forgiven. It signifies a new beginning for both people.

  1. Breaking glass

At the end of the blessings and ring exchange, the groom smashes a piece of glass with his foot. I have seen this only at a Jewish wedding. Breaking glass is a reminder of the imperfection of the world around us. Since both families are very religious, it was done judiciously.

  1. A gift for the groom

Apparently, the first gift the groom will get at his wedding will be from his bride – and it’s a prayer shawl.

  1. Special delicacies

This was my first time tasting Kosher food. Kosher food is delicacies prepared in accordance with dietary laws taken from Mosaic laws found in the Biblical books Leviticus and Deuteronomy. It also meant that meat and dairy are to be served separately.

  1. Tasting Challah

The challah is a kind of braided bread. A gigantic challah is usually prayed on to begin the eating part of the festivities.

  1. Circle dance

Fun! I enjoyed every single part of this particular ritual. My friend and her husband were sited on chairs and lifted while we danced around them.

  1. Raising of the newlyweds

According to traditions, newlyweds have to sit separately on the celebration. The guests raise bride and groom in chairs occasionally to let them see each other.

  1. One week of festivities

I mentioned earlier that both families were very religious. The wedding took seven days during, which the couple was treated like royalty.

  1. The Seven Blessings

Blessings have a magic number of seven. They are read by either a rabbi or respected men. It is a great honor to read the blessing for the guests. The groom is given a glass of wine, from which he drinks after blessings, then the bride is allowed to drink.

 

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