Marriage, being an ancient institution which vitally affects lives of men and women, it is not surprising that practically everything connected therewith has some superstitious belief or other associated with it.
The majority of people believe that particular incidents, colors, days, flowers, etc. determine absolutely the weal or woe of the parties to a marriage. They avoid supposedly unlucky days for their weddings. They take pains to arrange everything so as to assure conjugal happiness, and they worry themselves nearly to death it anything in connection with the ceremony takes an unpropitious turn.
>> Also see: Months & marriage myths (1912)
- If a bride marks her linen with the initials of her betrothed, it is commonly believed that she will never have occasion to use it as his wife.
- It is regarded as very unlucky if her fiance sees her wearing any part of her trousseau before the day, or even the hour, set for the wedding ceremony.
- Only bad luck can be expected, many believe, if the bride makes her own wedding dress, or if the making of the dress is begun before the day is named for the wedding.
- Superstitious brides usually avoid velvet as a material for their wedding dresses, believing that it would be certain to bring them bad luck. Satin is favored because it is believed to assure good fortune.
- If one holds a wedding dress in the hands for five minutes and makes a wish, the wish will “come true,” many believe.
- Brides are happy if the first flower they behold on their wedding day is white, and unhappy if it is red. The white flower is supposed to augur happiness, and the red unhappiness and care during the married life.
- If flowers are worn in the bride’s hair, uncovered by a veil, she will be sorry she married. To leave her bouquet in the church and then turn back for it is considered equally portentous.
- The girl who finds or snatches a flower from a bride’s bouquet may expect an early marriage, while the one who dons a bridal veil or wreath in a spirit of fun will be an old maid, according to a popular belief.
- If the bridegroom appears with his tie awry, it is a “sign” that he loves another girl; and if a raveling is found on his clothes, the supposition is that another woman loves him.
- Many are convinced that the bride should not bake the wedding cake herself if she desires to avoid bad luck.
- She can be sure of good luck, they say, if she cuts the first slice of the cake.
- Any accident to the cake gives warning that the bride will experience sorrow in her early married life.
- If an unmarried girl carries a piece of wedding cake in her pocket during the honeymoon, she will become a bride before the dress is worn out, ’tis said.
- To eat a piece of the cake that the bride has left on her plate will likewise bring an early marriage.
- Girls often place wedding cake under their pillows, believing that they will then dream of their future husbands.
- When the elder of the daughters of a family marries, a piece of her bridal cake must be left in the house, else, it is said, none of the other girls will marry.
- A wedding ring, a thimble, a coin and a button are sometimes baked in a wedding cake. The understanding is that the person who gets a piece containing the ring will be the first to marry. The one who gets the thimble is doomed to be an old maid. The one who finds the coin may expect wealth, while the one to whom the button falls will be a bachelor.
- It is considered unwise for either the bride or bridegroom to glance to right or left or to recognize anyone in going up the aisle of the church; the one who does will shortly go elsewhere for love.
- If a pigeon alights on the church as the bridal pair enters the church, it portends good luck.
- If the officiating minister makes a mistake, it is taken as an indication that someone present is opposed to the match.
- If the bride forgets and signs her maiden name instead of her new name to the church register, bad luck and possibly separation will result, the superstitious say.
- In some places, it is regarded as decidedly ominous if the minister misplaces his glasses when about to “tie the knot.” This is a “sign” that one of the contracting parties will not bear inspection.
- To have a minister refuse for any reason to perform the marriage ceremony is very unlucky. He always must see the bride before he ties the knot.
- Being married in a ruined church, some believe, will be certain to being good luck.
- Good luck may be further assured if the couple, immediately after the ceremony, run out of the church hand in hand.
- In some countries, it is supposed that if the bride is the first to arise from the altar, she will be the first ever after to get up in the morning; while if the groom arises first that “honor” will forever be his.
- The French believe that it will bring bad luck for a person older than the bride to precede her in entering the church.
- The Spanish have an old custom of tying a silk sash fringed with gold about the necks of the bridal pair as they kneel before the altar. This, it is believed, will bring them good luck.
- In Russia, the bride and groom run rapidly down the aisle after entering the church, the understanding being that the one who first reaches the altar will be “boss” of the household.
Top photo: From the wedding of Major and Mrs George Oakley Totten (August 22, 1921). Courtesy LOC. Second photo: The overjoyed newlywed couple of Duilio Palla and Amalia Petroni Palla, in their wedding portrait. South San Francisco, California (December 11, 1921). Courtesy South San Francisco Public Library.
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Publication: The Hartford Republican (Hartford, Ky.)
Publication date: October 28, 1921