Wedding ceremonies vary widely from one religious community to other. Each religion has different provisions and includes specific rituals for wedding but at one point all wedding ceremonies are the same. It’s an event that joins two souls with a promise to stay with each other for the rest of their lives. There are interesting traditions that symbolize wedding ceremonies of different religions. Jewish wedding is one such wedding ceremony that includes a host of colorful traditional events. In fact Jewish wedding is a unique event that speaks largely about the religious ethnicity of the Jews.
In the past Jewish wedding ceremony used to consist two parts, the erusin or bethoral and the nuisin or the finalisation of marriage with rituals. Unlike the past, these two distinct events now take place on the same day in the presence of witnesses and guests. As per the wedding traditions that vary widely according to the branch of Judaism and geographical location, the wedding ceremony is initiated with signing a marriage contract or ketuba and then the bride and groom are taken to the actual wedding venue. Known as the huppa, the venue is actually a canopy under which the rituals are observed. The bride and groom share wine from a single cup and then the groom put a ring on the bride’s finger and they are declared by the priest as married. Some branches of Judaism have got provisions for the bride to do the same with the groom as a positive response or an act of acceptance which is followed by reading the ketuba and blessings loudly. The wedding rituals end with the groom stepping on a glass and breaking it. As the rituals get over, the couple are allowed some time to spend with each other before they join the wedding party.
There are a host of rituals that are followed by both the parties in the week preceding the wedding. On the last two days before the wedding date, it is customary for both the bride and the groom to wear mourning costumes to symbolize the sorrow for moving away from their parents. They also visit their relatives accompanied by their male and female friends respectively. According to traditions both the parties receive gifts from each house they visit.
Timing is a very sensitive factor in Jewish wedding. Earlier the Jews used to consider Wednesday as holy for marriages of virgins and Thursday for the widows but now widows get married mostly on Friday afternoons are preferred more for them. In some parts of Asia, Thursday is a common wedding day for the Jews. Another interesting part of Jewish wedding is the bathing. In the Caucasus, the bride and groom are escorted to the sea for a holy dip. After the bath is over, mother of the bride blesses her.
Feast in the honor of the parents of the bride and the groom is a mandatory part of Jewish wedding. It comes as an addition to the long feasting period that prevails in the houses of both parties for seven days. This special feast, known as the spinholz generally occurs on the day before the wedding. Other than the grand feast, traditional music and dances by the guests from both parties add colors to the ambiance of the wedding venue and the party.