If you attend a marriage ceremony, there are many rituals you might see, depending on the culture of the bride and groom. Most of these rituals have deeper meanings that should be viewed from a historical perspective.

Popular Rituals

  • Jumping the broom: There are weddings, especially those that happen among Africans, where the bride and groom literally ‘jump a broom.’ This ritual is said to date back to the days of slavery, when newlyweds were made to jump a broom to give their union validity.
  • Lighting the candle: This ritual is common, especially in Christian and Jewish marriage ceremonies. The bride and groom both light a single candle that shows they are moving into a space in which they are hoping for light and love.
  • Pouring sand on a vessel: In this ritual, the bride and groom have different coloured sand in their vases. They simultaneously pour this sand into a single jar to show that they are united. This typically happens after they have exchanged vows.
  • Love letter in a box: This is a fairly new ritual for wedding ceremonies. The bride and groom both come with letters they have written. They place the sealed letters in a box, into which they sometimes put other items, like bottles of wine. Then they go home with the box, which they can open later on their anniversary or on another special occasion.
  • Warming of rings: In a warming-of-rings ritual, the bride and groom both pass their wedding rings to invited guests for ‘warming.’ The guests are expected to hold the rings, whisper a prayer, or emit ‘positive vibes’ before returning the rings to the happy couple.
  • Washing of feet: This ritual is believed to be derived from The Bible. In it, the bride laboriously washes the groom’s feet in a sign of commitment, service, and humility.