Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue:
Part 1-Wedding Superstitions-Good and Bad Luck
When planning a wedding, most brides are very conscious of what is considered good or bad luck for the big day. From England, to Greece, and even as far as India and Japan, superstitions have long been a concern for couples getting married. What is taken seriously as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ luck has changed over the years, however, there are some traditions, and superstitions, that are still followed very closely.
If you are getting married, there is a good chance someone has asked you what your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue’ will be. This classic tradition has long been popular with brides wanting to ensure some good luck on their wedding day. The superstition behind this phrase is not always known by brides or family members trying to ensure the good luck, but most brides will follow it anyways. The idea of having something old is said to connect the bride with the past. The ‘something new’ represents optimism for the future. The ‘something borrowed’ must be borrowed from someone with a happy marriage, as this represents borrowing happiness to put towards the new marriage. Having ‘something blue’ represents purity, fidelity, and love. Blue is customarily the color of clothing that the Virgin Mary is shown wearing in images and statues, and this tradition derives the use of blue from her appearance. The last part of this tradition is often left out, as most folks do not realize there is another line to the rhyme. Technically, the phrase ends with ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’, which was used as a wish for good fortune and prosperity. With silver sixpences not very easy to come by nowadays, most brides just stick to the first four lines.
Other common traditions and superstitions include the groom carrying the bride over the threshold, not seeing each other before the ceremony, not using your married name before the wedding, crying at your wedding, and rain on your wedding day. It was originally thought that brides were susceptible to evil spirits through the soles of her feet, and that they could enter her body at the entrance to the home if her feet touched the ground. So grooms carried their new-brides over the threshold to keep them safe from the evil spirits. Brides and grooms seeing each other before the ceremony has long been considered bad luck. However, with the emergence of the new trend of the ‘first look’, this superstition is quickly fading. Couples have recently decided sharing an intimate moment to see each other alone, before all of the guests, is a more romantic way to start the wedding. This also gives couples a chance to get a good cry in, and do any needed makeup touch-ups, before the ceremony. Hopefully, there are some tears, as crying on your wedding day is considered good luck! This superstition stems from the idea that if a bride cries on her wedding day, she will have no tears left for her marriage, so it will be a happy union. In some cultures, brides will force themselves to cry for an hour a day, for an entire month before the wedding, to ensure there are no tears left for the marriage. While crying before the wedding is completely acceptable, be sure to avoid using your married name until the ceremony is complete! It is a common superstition that any bride who uses her married name before the wedding incurs bad luck, and will never officially have this name. It is a fine line with luck on this one, as it is also considered bad luck if the bride accidentally signs her maiden name on any of the official marriage paperwork. With all of this to worry about, the last thing most brides want is rain on their wedding day. If this happens, don’t fret! According to Hindu tradition, rain on your wedding day is good luck!
There are many traditions and superstitions about weddings all around the world. In Ireland, it is a tradition to ring bells at wedding ceremonies, especially after the vows, to help keep evil spirits away. Bells are also given as gifts for the newlywed couple, to ring at home during fights, to remind them of their vows. In Italy, there is a tradition for couples to break a glass at their ceremony. The number of pieces the glass breaks into, is said to represent the number of happy years of marriage the couple will share. Brides in Morocco traditionally take milk baths before their wedding, in order to purify themselves. An Egyptian superstition is for women to pinch a bride on her wedding day, which is supposed to bring her good luck. In Greece, brides will tuck a sugar cube into their glove in order to ‘sweeten’ their new union. A Pine tree is planted outside of the home of newlyweds in Holland, which traditionally symbolizes fertility and luck for the new marriage. Although most weddings now take place on Saturdays, in England, it is traditionally considered bad luck to have a wedding on a Saturday. This superstition considers Wednesday as the best day to be wed. If getting married on a Wednesday sounds strange to you, be happy you were not around in Ancient Roman times! During that time period, pig entrails were studied to determine the luckiest time for a couple to get married.
Some of these traditions and superstitions about weddings may seem odd, but they get even crazier! There is a superstition that receiving knives as a wedding gift is very bad luck. However, this bad luck can be avoided if the newlyweds pay for the knives, so superstitious couples will trade a penny for any knives. Before even worrying about their gifts, grooms from centuries past had enough to worry about. Traditionally the groom would stand with the bride to his left during the wedding ceremony. This was done in case any jealous suitors came to fight the groom for his bride, so his right hand would be free to use a sword. There is also an old superstition, that if the younger of two sisters marries first, the elder sister must dance barefoot at her wedding, or she will risk never landing a husband. No matter if the bride is the eldest or youngest sister, it is thought to be terribly bad luck if she has a nun, or monk, cross her path on her wedding day. It is said if this happens, the bride will be cursed with a barren life, and will always rely on the charity of others.
Thankfully, we live in an age where most of these silly superstitions are not taken too seriously. Some traditions can be fun to continue, but do not ever feel forced to follow something based on the type of luck it will bring. Remember, it is your big day, and you already have all the luck you need with the one you love by your side. So don’t let the old traditions and superstitions get in the way of enjoying your celebration. Thanks for readings, and good luck wedding planning!