“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards.”
–Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)
For some strange reason, I have weddings on my brain…
What an interesting social and cultural concept they are!
I wanted to explore how these “things” got started in the first place.
Here are a few pieces of interesting info I gleaned about the history of weddings. I believe most are historical fact, some may be urban legend; interesting urban legend. I didn’t have the time for validating this information but thought of posting it just because it’s interesting regardless –
- The first time a diamond was presented to seal an engagement was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented one to Mary of Burgundy. Today most brides receive diamond engagement rings.
- Tradition suggests that in most cultures the bride’s side pays all the expenses. However, there is some equality seeping into this norm although not quite enough and not all over the world. Not for example in India, the second most populous nation in the world. 😦
- Ancient Greeks used pig entrails to determine the luckiest day to marry. Don’t ask me to figure that one out! But is it any more curious than traditional Hindu priests checking the couple’s horoscopes and star signs?
- Do you know why June is the most popular one for weddings? I thought it was the weather! Actually, it’s because the goddess Juno was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing, so a wedding in Juno’s month was considered most auspicious. Who knew?
- Bridal showers started in the Netherlands to help brides whose fathers refused to pay the dowry! That should have been the only reason to continue them. Other than to just party with friends and family…now that’s a great excuse for a shower.
- The first wedding occurred about 4500 years ago…that’s a long time ago. No wonder it’s an institution now!
- Dowries have been popular for a long, long, long time. Since about 3000 years ago actually. The father of the bride paid to marry off his daughter with everything from sheep to jewelry and land. Sad.
I could go on and on with intriguing facts and tidbits. Instead, here’s an infograph on the history of weddings that you may want to check out, just for the heck of it.
All I can say, once again, is that this is one of the most interesting, wonderful, somber, romantic, practical social structures invented by man (methinks it must have been a man).
And for all it’s happy and sad history, the yin and the yang so to speak, I am compelled today to say :
To all those newlyweds who go into the union now and in the future with eyes wide open, full of love and hope, may they receive all the goodness they wish for. And more!
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Raja Ravi Varma [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Pompeo Batoni [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons