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Wedding Traditions

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The poem about bridal attire : "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" is familiar to everyone. What is not so widely known are the origins wherein a bride borrowed an item from a happily married woman because the giver's happiness was said to be passed on to the bride. Blue is considered to bring constancy to the relationship. The bridal garter originates from at least two quite different cultures.

In days of old, when knights were bold, the groom removed the virginal girdle from his bride on their wedding night. The Old English custom of "Flinging the Stocking" is thought to be another possible origin; maiden wedding guests would sneak into the bridal chamber, pick up the bride's discarded stockings (and presumably the garters that held them up), and throw them at the couple. If a stocking hung on the bride's or groom's nose the thrower would be the next to marry.

Wedding rings, symbolising eternal love by their lack of beginning or end, grew out of the ancient tribal custom of using circlets of grass to decorate a bride's wrists and ankles. The Egyptians and the Romans, with their love of precious metals and jewels, initiated the practice of using silver and gold. Rings were worn on the third finger of the left hand because ancient cultures believed that finger to have a vein running straight to the heart.

The wedding kiss is an expression of the newlywed's faith and love. It grew out of the feudal practice of kissing the ring of a Lord of the Manor.

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