Thursday is Traditions Info #10

Jul 16, 2009   //   by Lora   //   Garter, Wedding Customs and Traditions  //  No Comments
On Thursday I post a wedding tradition. There are many rites of passage we observe today that echo the past. Everything from the veil, rice, flowers and cake, hold significant meanings. Old world marriage customs continue to thrive today – many are diluted, disguised and often upgraded.

Removing &Tossing the Garter – This may be one of the oldest surviving wedding traditions. In the 14th century, in part of Europe, the male guests would rush the bride at the alter when the ceremony was finished and remove her garter from her leg. In the panic the bride was often knocked over (nice!). Around the same time, guests believe having a piece of the bride’s clothing was throught to bring good luck and so some would actually destroy the bride’s dress by ripping off pieces of fabric. Obviously this didn’t go over too well with the fair maiden, and so later the tradition was altered where the bride would toss a variety of personal items out to the men, which a garter would be one item. But this also caused a problem as sometimes the men would get drunk, become impatient and try to remove the garter ahead of time. (Barbarians!) Being in possession of a young bride’s garter signified fulfillment and progeny and was fiercely sought after. Needing a much tamer act, the custom derived to having just the groom remove and toss the garter to the single men. The idea was the man who caught the garter would be the next to marry. With this change, the things became a bit more civilized! The custom remains today, and is thought of as a fun, lively moment within the wedding reception.

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