5.21.2007

Love and Marriage Customs

Many modern love and marriage customs have their roots in old rituals and superstitions. In seventeenth-century New England, Americans followed the practice of bundling. A betrothed couple was encouraged to spend the night together in the weeks before the wedding, but they had to be fully clothes\d ad a bundle of clothing was put between them.
In Holland, a would-be bride would leave a ladder at her window so her intended might climb up to her room. Her parents, however, provided her with a gong and tongs to raise the alarm should her intended attempt to cross the barrier of clothes in the middle of her bed. Such visits by a serious suitor were considered and honor, but if the young lady became pregnant, she would have to conceal he baby under her cloak at the wedding.

Wedding Anniversaries

At one time, each anniversary represented a different material. There were often things that the bridal couple would need as their wedding gifts wore out or something, such as fruit and flowers, representing the addition of children to the family. Now the custom has been reduced o a few anniversaries, such as Silver and Golden Weddings.
Yet traditional recognition of anniversaries by those who attended the original wedding can provide a focus not only for the couple, but for the loving energies and intent of all present. Anniversary gifts need not be expensive. Even a Golden Wedding can be marked by golden flowers of gifts wrapped in gold paper. Candles can be lit and the couple and those present burn candle wishes or promises for the future. Anniversaries of togetherness can also be celebrated by couples who have lived together for many years.
Key anniversaries include:

First: Cotton
Second: Paper
Third: Leather
Fourth: Fruit and flowers
Fifth: Wood
Sixth: Iron
Seventh: Woolen
Eighth: Bronze
Ninth: Pottery
Tenth: Tin
Eleventh: Steel
Twelfth: Silk
Thirtieth: Lace
Fourteenth: Crystal
Twentieth: China
Twenty-fifth: Coral
Fortieth: Ruby
Forty-fifth: Gold
Fifty-fifth: Emerald
Sixtieth: Diamond
Seventy-fifth: Diamond or More Recently Platinum