In the north African country of Mauritania, plus-sized women are considered the most attractive, and, traditionally, thin-bodied women find it challenging to secure a husband. Basically, the bigger the bride, the better!
The ancient tradition of leblouh is a school of sorts for young girls to gain weight. The young women are expected to attend these leblouh rites where female elders feed them a high-calorie diet primarily consisting of couscous and goat milk.
No Wedding Night Baby? Get a Refund!
The Nuer people's wedding traditions in South Sudan happen in multiple stages, beginning with the hopeful bachelors approaching their intended bride’s family with a dowry of up to forty cattle.
Following this, a wedding ceremony takes place, but the proceedings' third and final stage is the chance to make the newlywed status official: the conjugal night. However, should the bride fail to conceive, the groom can call the entire marriage off and get a refund of all his cattle!
The Groom and the Bridal Bullseye
Cupid, stand aside. The Uyghur ethnic group in China proves their love for their brides by shooting arrows at them. And not just in the general direction of the bride; the arrows have to physically hit her.
Do not worry – the groom ensures to remove the arrowheads before picking up his bow! The groom fires the salvo of arrow shafts at his bride and then proceeds to snap each one before her. The tradition symbolizes everlasting trust between the couple.
Hand Over Your Daughter
Romance was not always the reason for ancient weddings, rarely so, in fact. Instead, marriage was a contract between different families through their sons and daughters getting married.
This contract is best represented by the age-old tradition of the bride’s father walking her down the aisle. As we know today, the act is symbolic of the father “giving his daughter away.” In the past, this was not symbolic, and the tradition was for the father to literally “hand over” his daughter as part of the tribal agreement!
Bridesmaids, But Why?
Bridesmaids are a quintessential part of the American wedding. Some may claim their role is even more iconic than those of the brides and grooms, but have you ever stopped to wonder why such a role even exists?
Bridesmaids were initially intended to serve as a “camouflage” for the bride. They would dress identically to the bride in order to confuse any would-be abductors who felt entitled to the brides’ courtship or her wedding dowry. Similarly, the bridesmaids were expected to fight off any vengeful mistresses!