Taking a peak into wedding traditions!

There are so many aspects to weddings and, while individual elements and traditions vary both by religion and within a religion, they are all time-honoured and serve to celebrate the couples families, communities, and cultures.

Elements often have historical meanings and significance and choosing to incorporate these traditions is both a nod to the past as well as an embrace of the future, and we have had the privilege, here at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, to experience some beautiful traditional ceremonies!

For those of you in the know, this will no doubt make you reflect on your wedding day or having attended a wedding that falls outside of your traditions and relishing in the experience.

A number of different types of wedding ceremonies are available to couples wishing to get married. In general, they can be grouped into religious and non-religious types. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Catholic ceremonies are examples of religious wedding ceremonies.

The different beliefs and traditions of these religions are reflected in their wedding ceremonies. Non-religious ceremonies may have a variety of different components, but often still include the exchange of wedding vows.

Christian weddings are one type of religious wedding ceremony. An important aspect is the bride's walk down the aisle with her father, after which she is "given away" to her groom. The ceremony often includes readings from the Bible, hymns, and a sermon by the minister. Perhaps most important is the exchange of marriage vows and rings between the couple. At the end of the ceremony, the new couple walks back down the aisle together.

Jewish wedding traditions can vary but some common aspects are the Ketubah, which is a marriage contract and is read out loud during the ceremony, detailing the groom's responsibilities to his new wife. The ceremony takes place under a canopy, called a chuppah, which symbolizes the home the couple will build together in their marriage. Finally, the famous breaking of the glass marks the end of the ceremony, which has many interpretations, but is often believed to mean that marriages are fragile and must be protected.

Finally, guests shout Mazel Tov! (Congratulations) to celebrate the new union!

The Muslim wedding ceremony is most commonly known by its Arabic term, nikkah. The nikkah typically happens at a mosque on the morning of the wedding day, before the reception. The bride herself has no role to play in her wedding ceremony, as the nikkah is essentially a procedure whereby the groom accepts a proposal from the bride's father, to marry her to him. Many brides don't attend nikkah, and await their groom at their home, or in a hall close to the mosque. Nevertheless, more and more brides are beginning to visit the mosque since the nikkah is what makes the marriage official, and they don't want to miss that.

A Hindu wedding normally takes place over the span of three days with different events taking place each day. The main ceremony and reception on the third day as well as the sangeet, during the second day, are attended by most of the guests. Hindu wedding celebrations are based on auspicious times predetermined and provided by the priest. An intimate Hindu wedding can consist of an average of 150 to 200 guests.

Greek wedding traditions feature elaborate rituals with crowns, the Koumaros or wedding sponsor then intertwines the crowns three times symbolizing the couples union. Similar to the Russian orthodox wedding, this is the importance of placing crowns onto the heads of the couple than the exchanging of rings. The couple shares a cup of wine and then they both follow the priest three times around the lectern to symbolise their journey into married life.

Of course there are also non-religious ceremonies which are presided over by judges, clerks, or other public officials. They can occur at a court house, or at another location chosen by the couple. Many people choose to have an outdoor wedding in order to take advantage of a scenic backdrop, such as Granny Mouse. The content of these ceremonies differs according to the couple, but typically still includes the exchanging of vows, meaningful readings, and music.

So there you have it! When next you are looking for a wedding venue, contact Granny Mouse Country House & Spa on www.grannymouse.co.za - the perfect location for that special day.

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