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Top 13 Symbols of Marriage With Meanings

Top 13 Symbols of Marriage With Meanings

The ceremony of marriage is rich with meaning. It symbolizes the crucial connection of a new couple in the creation of a nurturing new life. The wedding ring, linking of hands, and the appearance of tiny children surrounding the bride all have symbolic meanings. 

The children represent future offspring and are a sort of sympathetic magic. Another fertility sign is the flinging of rice, confetti, or grain. Food is frequently used as a romantic symbol. Therefore, even the classic wedding cake can be interpreted as a fertility metaphor.

Breaking a tiny item such as a glass during a wedding reception also has sexual undertones since it signifies the marriage’s completion.

Listed below are the top 13 symbols of marriage from around the world:

1. The Classic Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake.
Wedding Cake
shine oaCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The custom of cutting the wedding cake can be dated back to the Roman era. It was crumbled over the head of the bride for good luck. The wedding cake is a sign of fertility and good fortune. It also provides good fortune to everyone who consumes it.

To signify a long-lasting, prosperous, and happy marriage, the wedding cake is made with an abundance of high-quality ingredients.

To bring good luck in the marriage, the bride slices the first piece of cake. To guarantee that he enjoys good fortune, her groom now assists her in this. This also implies that they will continue to share all of their worldly possessions in the future.

The wedding cake is surrounded by a variety of nice customs. One tradition is for the bride to set aside a piece of cake to assure her husband’s loyalty. A layer of the cake may be saved to be used as a baptism cake in the future.

This secures the future of coming generations. Unmarried ladies in attendance are encouraged to take a slice home and keep it near their pillow at night. This is believed to let them have dreams where they can see their future spouse. 

2. Champagne Flutes

Champagne Flutes.
Champagne Flutes
Lesptitesmarionnettes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Two Champagne glasses slanted toward each other, as they are throughout wedding toasts, are another classic symbol of marriage. It symbolizes happiness and is quite a simple symbol 

3. The Infinity Symbol

The Infinity symbol.
The Infinity symbol
MarianSigler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The infinity sign is a little unusual, but it clearly represents eternity, making it an appropriate wedding emblem. It symbolizes the long bond between the groom and the bride. 

4. Wedding Gowns

Woman wearing a wedding gown.
Woman wearing a wedding gown
Image by oliviabrown8888 from Pixabay

The wedding gown is the most essential of all the bridal clothes. Wedding gowns may be traced back to the ancient Egyptian Civilization when the bride donned a translucent silk gown that wrapped around her body and revealed nothing. Since then, additional layers have been steadily added, mostly for the sake of humility.

Queen Victoria defied convention by opting for a white bridal gown. Royal brides have traditionally worn silver before then. Of course, every bride desired to be hitched in white following her wedding since it meant innocence and purity.

In today’s world, the bride may wear whatever color she wants. It’s only natural for the bride to choose the hue that flatters her best. 

The bride also has to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” in addition to her gown. “Something old” is best described as an item that was formerly owned by a married elderly lady. “Sympathetic magic” is exemplified here. The notion is that part of the luck the elderly lady enjoys in her marriage will be transferred on to the young bride.

The wedding gown is generally “something new.” It may, however, be anything.

“Something borrowed” is used to refer to something valuable. As a result, it was frequently a valuable piece of jewelry borrowed from a relative. Wearing the borrowed piece denoted a marriage between the bride and the sun since the gold object represented the sun, the foundation of all life.

“Something blue” is a tribute to the moon, all women’s guardians.

The bridal gown is also associated with a variety of superstitions. Brides who made their own wedding gowns were often thought to be unlucky. It was also thought to be a sign of bad luck for the woman to put on her wedding gown before the big day.

Another myth is that the bride must not gaze in the mirror once she has finished getting ready for the chapel.

5. Bridal Veil

Woman wearing a bridal veil.
Woman wearing a bridal veil
Image by Afishera from Pixabay

There are various theories on where the wedding veil came from. The traditional wedding veil was donned to hide the bride’s loveliness from any bad spirits that may attempt to take her away, according to popular belief.

As a result, the veil couldn’t be raised until after the wedding was solemnized. Another idea is that the veil shielded the bride from coming into contact with the evil eye, which was devastating for the success of the marriage. 

The wedding veil is known to have originated in the East, where it was forbidden for a man to look at the face of the bride before she was married. Some folklorists believe the veil represents the bride’s obedience to her husband, while others believe it represents the reverse.

To ward off the evil eye, the Romans and Greeks employed a wedding canopy draped over the bride and husband. It’s conceivable that’s where the wedding veil came from.

The wedding veil is still popular, regardless of its origin. Some women like to use the wedding veil of a happily married family member or friend. It’s also part of the sympathetic magic. 

6. The Old Man Under the Moon

Sculpture of Yue Lao.
Sculpture of Yue Lao
Shizhao, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In ancient Chinese civilizations, the deity of marriage and love was undoubtedly personified by a god called the Old Man Under the Moon (Yue Lao). This person is thought to use a silk bond to bind the groom’s and bride’s fingers and toes together.

Furthermore, the happy couple would sip wine from two glasses connected by a purple rope. Another traditional Chinese sign of marriage is chopsticks.

7. The Dragon

Dragon as a symbol of marriage.
Dragon as a symbol of marriage
Katsushika Hokusai, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A dragon is another Asian emblem of marriage. The dragon is used as a symbol for the most ancient of the Oriental gods of love and marriage.  

It is the fantastic Chinese wife deity of fertility who binds the two pairs of feet together. The couple sip wine from a glass with a scarlet thread knotted around it. 

8. Knot of Love

A classic Celtic love knot.
A classic Celtic love knot
AnonMoos ; Erin Silversmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The love knot is another popular Asian symbol of marriage. The love knot is known as a prominent symbol of marriage life in several Asian countries, and it may symbolize a variety of marital situations. Its meaning is often related to a couple’s love. 

It is associated with riches and plenty, much as the love knot. Wedding symbols, whatever they symbolize, are one-of-a-kind and meaningful. The gold scroll, for example, may be inscribed with the groom and bride’s names.

9. Flower Bouquet 

Bridal Flower.
Bridal Flower
Alvin Mahmudov alvinmahmudov, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Flowers are associated with fertility and sex. As a result, the wedding bouquet represents fertility and happy lovemaking. The ribbons around the blooms are said to bring good fortune.

At the tip of each ribbon, there should be knots known as “lover’s knots.” These represent totality and oneness. The bouquet toss is a relatively new invention. The next bride will be whoever catches it.

10. Boutonniere

Groom's Boutonniere.
Groom’s Boutonniere
Sweet Ice Cream Photography sweeticecreamphotography, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A boutonniere, often called a buttonhole, is made of flowers or a tiny bouquet worn in the lapel buttonhole. Boutonnieres were initially presented to guests at weddings as a way of wishing them luck.

11. Wedding Rings 

Wedding Rings with diamond and roses.
Wedding Rings
Image Courtesy: Piqsels

The wedding ring is shaped like a complete circle without a beginning or finish. It is a symbol of unity, eternity, and completion. Nobody knows where the tradition of wearing wedding bands began. Married ladies in the Egyptian civilization wore grass bands around their wrists. This signaled to others that the lady had accepted her husband’s authority and protection

Rings made of precious metals such as gold, platinum, and silver were introduced by the Romans. It not only demonstrated that the lady was married, but it also demonstrated that her husband was willing to entrust her with valuables.

At different periods, the wedding band was placed on different fingers. The index finger was popular in ancient Greece. In India, the thumb was a popular choice. For a long time, the fourth finger was utilized till the third finger on the left hand became pretty much a universal symbol for marriage. This is based on the ancient Egyptian notion that a vein directly linked this finger to the heart. The love was locked in and would never leave once the ring was put on this finger.

Bridesmaids used to put a slice of wedding cake nine times right through the couple’s wedding rings during Victorian times. This suggested she would meet and marry her spouse within a year.

William of Orange is the subject of one of the most moving wedding ring tales we’ve ever heard (1650-1702). When he passed away, he was sporting the wedding ring he had given Princess Mary, his wife, in 1677 (on a ribbon wrapped around his neck). A strand of her hair twisted itself around the ring.

12. Throwing Rice

After Wedding Throwing Rice.
After Wedding Throwing Rice
Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rice flinging is a centuries-old tradition. Rice is known as a common symbol of fertility, wealth, and health in the Asian region.  Therefore, it’s possible it started there. As a result, tossing rice over the joyful couple was an excellent method to wish the marriage these virtues.

The guests threw sweets and nuts of different types at the bride by the ancient Romans. For the bride to walk on, the Anglo-Saxons flung barley and wheat on the chapel floor.

Another probable origin of this old ritual is the notion that weddings attract malevolent spirits. They were envious of the bride and were hungry, so they ate all the rice, ensuring the bride did.

13. Horseshoe

Wedding Horseshoe.
Wedding Horseshoe
Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

A horseshoe is said to be a good luck charm for warding off the evil eye. This is most likely due to the horseshoe’s protective function. The crescent form of a horseshoe, on the other hand, served as a reminder of the moon, which promoted additional metaphors.

The prongs of a horseshoe may be mounted with the prongs facing up or down. If the prongs are pointed upward, the masculine energy is created, and if they point down, feminine energy is produced. In any case, you’ll have excellent fortune.

Newly married couples are traditionally given a horseshoe, which may be genuine or ornamental. This present is intended to congratulate them on their good fortune and to ensure the safety of their house.

This is based on a fable about a blacksmith who was subsequently elected Archbishop of Canterbury. 

One day, St. Dunstan was at work when a hooded man approached him and begged the smith to re-shoe him instead of his horse. St. Dunstan was well aware that Satan possessed cloven heels in need of footwear. Satan, of course, had to be his weird guest. He tormented Satan with a heated poker until he vowed never to visit a home with a horseshoe on display again.

Summary

The symbols of marriage can be a great way to celebrate the new union between two happy people for their ever-lasting bond. 

References 

  1. https://www.rd.com/article/history-of-wedding-cakes/
  2. https://southernbride.co.nz/wedding-horseshoes/
  3. https://www.brides.com/why-do-people-throw-rice-at-weddings-5073735
  4. https://www.laingsuk.com/blog/2018/11/the-history-of-wedding-rings/
  5. https://weddings-in-croatia.net/blog/inspiration/bridal-bouquet-symbolic-meaning-flowers-89/
  6. https://www.saraverdier.com/love-knot-meaning-origin/
  7. https://eastmeetsdress.com/blogs/blog/5-must-have-chinese-wedding-symbols-for-your-wedding
  8. https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/cultural-traditions/10-wedding-traditions-with-surprising-origins.htm