Articles in the For Fact’s Sake columns are – according to Google and the Duck ’n Fiddle’s Explanation of Everything – based in fact. Occasionally though, some names and places have been changed to protect innocent people involved.
♫ We’ve only just begun… to l-i-v-e… White lace and promises… etc. Here’s a bit of trivia for Pub Quiz enthusiasts: this hit by the Carpenters was originally composed by Paul Williams as a jingle for a bank’s TV commercial, aimed at newly-weds as potential clients.
Anyway, most of us are familiar with ‘Western-styled’ weddings where guests gets dressed up to the nines, and watch dewy-eyed as the bride and groom glibly recite vows to honour and obey each other through thick and thin, come hell or high water, till death doth them part, etc.
Then, after the formal ceremony, and having endured the torturing of Bach and Mendelssohn by the sadistic organist, they all rush off to a venue designed for dining, dancing and generally getting rat-faced. Bouquets are flung blindly over brides’ shoulders for those single maidens willing to endure the hell and high water, and garters are removed from the brides’ upper thigh – hopefully by the groom – and chucked into a scrum of bachelors keen on the idea of being honoured and obeyed.
These traditions may seem somewhat quirky, but they’re no stranger than some rituals from around the globe. In Mauritania, for example, a chubby bride is required for a harmonious marriage. They spend time on ‘fat farms’ before the big day to radically plump up, despite many falling ill and developing various health issues.
In South Korea, an old tradition maintains that beating the groom’s feet with a dead fish somehow improves his performance on the wedding night. While that might seem strange, brides in Tujia (China) are required to cry for one hour a day for a month prior to the wedding. Female relatives often join in to guarantee good fortune to the happy union.
The Tidong community in Borneo have a rather painful tradition. They lock the bride and groom in separate rooms for three days during which time they may not perform a number 1 or 2. Eish! Quite how that could possibly strengthen future relations is too much to stomach, but I’m sure many would rather forego the agony and take their chances.
During the ceremony on the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, wedding guests lie face-down on the dance floor to form a carpet, and the happy couple literally walks all over them. This apparently ensures their future good fortune and harmony.
In some African traditions it was normal for the bride’s mother to accompany the newly-weds on their honeymoon night. Her role was to encourage and educate the young couple’s first foray into the art of matrimonial harmony, but personally I can think of nothing more detrimental to the performance than having your mother-in-law shouting tips from the side lines.
An old French tradition involved a lot of banging on the wedding night, but with a variation known as Charivari. Friends and relatives would gather outside the couple’s home and bang pots and pans all night in relays. To make matters worse, they’re expected to be served drinks and snacks during this ritual. I might be old-fashioned, but I’m quite happy to stick to the bouquet and garter routine any day.
While on the subject of weddings, here are some insights from celebrities in the know.
Clint Eastwood said: Marriages may be made in heaven, but so is thunder and lightning.
Socrates wrote: My advice to you is to get married. If you find a good wife you’ll be happy. If not, you’ll become a philosopher.
This one is from Rod Stewart: Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.
Will Ferrell suggests that before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet service to see who they really are.
Too true nè?