Facial surface piercings
Come now to your.
bedroom to your.
bed and play there.
with your bridegroom.
lead you not at all.
you stand wondering.
before the silver.
Queen of Marriage ” — The immortal Sappho again.
Hera is the Greek Goddess who presides over Marriage. The Romans named her Juno and she is the one who gave her name to the month of June.
This Goddess was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing, so a wedding in Juno’s month was considered most auspicious.
The popularity of June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the Day of Beltane, or May Day (May 1st), young couples would pair off to court for 3 months and then be wed on Lammas Day, (August 1). Youths were impatient, and so the waiting period was shortened to mid-June, the height of summer.
Stag parties were first held by ancient Spartan soldiers, who kissed their bachelor days goodbye with a raucous party. There’s a stereotype in patriarchal culture that men are indeed wild and marriage domesticates them. Stags rut and roar so give metaphoric licence to the idea that a groom is kissing goodbye his youthful wildness. ‘Wild’ these days equates to out on the town, drunk and disorderly. Stags are wild animals that are hunted down by men and there are many humiliating rituals drunken men can inflict upon the groom-to-be under the influence.
Hen’s parties are the parties that women throw on the eve of marriage. Held by the bridesmaids for the bride, only a generation ago, these were sedate afternoon affairs known as kitchen showers. Everyone bought along a gift for the bride to help set up her home.
When I was a young bride in the 1960’s, people were shamed if they lived out of “wedlock” – the word itself, indicates the idea of jail. Times have changed radically. The sexual revolution overtook us all and women have become ‘liberated” from the thrall of chastity until marriage.
Hire-purchase and credit cards have ended the idea of saving up for material goods and spending within our limited means. Buy now, pay later is the maxim. Marriage invitations often instruct the guests where to shop and more often or not, the couple are already living together in a very well provided home.
Hen’s parties still include lots of cackling and clucking but seem to have taken on something of the stag’s behaviour. They often involve strippers, lewd, uninhibited behaviour, drunken free-for-alls and not a chaperone in sight for all those silly hens.
In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple. The customs differ in patriarchal cultures but always this commitment meant the woman must honour and obey her husband. And never ever – usually on the pain of death – commit adultery. Men might marry more than one woman, or take concubines or mistresses with impunity in the older cultures. The woman must never stray. Otherwise the honour of her husband is under threat.
Nowadays, commitment to each other is still a big part of the marriage vows, but we believe (despite ongoing consistent evidence) neither man nor woman should stray from their sexual commitment to monogamy. Despite human nature, and the nature of love itself (the God of Love is such a fickle creature!) we trust we will stay the same forever and forever. Forgetting that Love is both willful and blind.
Eros. Sidney Meteyard.
The bridal party is a tradition that has been established for many centuries. For a long time the purpose of the bridal party was to fool evil spirits. The bride’s friends dressed similarly to her in order to confuse any virulent presences that might be lurking about. Today bridesmaids are there to support the bride in the stressful times during the wedding.
The Flower Girl’s role was once, not simply to spread petals down the aisle but, with her shield of virginity, to protect the bride from the Devil.
My cute little sister Linda and me are the Flowergirls at our Aunty’s Wedding 1951.
Today, the ring bearer can be a girl, boy, or even a dog….
According to tradition, only an unmarried woman could be a Maid of Honour, and only the brother, best friend, or father of the groom could be the Best Man. In ancient times, men sometimes captured women to make them their brides. A man would take along his strongest and most trusted friend to help him fight resistance from the woman’s family. This friend, therefore, was considered the Best Man among his friends. In Anglo Saxon England, the Best Man accompanied the Groom up the aisle to help defend the Bride.
The original purpose of the Bridesmaid and the Best Man was to aid in the abduction of the Bride, get her to church on time, and keep any hostile family members away! Now the Bridesmaids usher the guests to their seats, the Best Man carries the ring, and offers a toast. The Bride stands to the Groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the Groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.
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