Fun, noise, dancing, champagne and wine - all this is a typical Italian wedding. For centuries, the Catholic Church, whose presence has been unchanged in the life of every Italian, has preserved wedding traditions, without which every celebration of creating a new family is still not complete.
Marriage Institute and History
An important event affecting the institution of marriage in Italy was the invasion of French conqueror Napoleon into the country, who recognized only civil marriage as legal, which fundamentally contradicted the laws and canons of the Catholic Church. However, this did not prevent the creation of new wedding traditions: now in the ceremonies, the so-called “tree of freedom” occupied a special place, which the newlyweds needed to get around three times. And only after that a new marriage was registered in local municipalities. After Napoleon left in Italy, church marriage came into force again, and the tradition of the “tree of freedom” was preserved.
Wedding customs and traditions have much in common with those that we regularly observe in our country. So, for example, in Italy, as in the old days, today it is customary to ask the bride’s hands for her parents, but if in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, the potential groom addresses this with his beloved father, then in Italy this honor is given to the girl’s mother. And this must happen necessarily at a family dinner. After the permission for marriage was obtained, future newlyweds were forbidden to remain alone until the wedding.
In the organization of the wedding, the key role was assigned and is now assigned to the matchmakers, who are engaged in arranging the long-awaited celebration, take into account all the details and make sure that all traditions are fully respected. Under their strict guidance, we are all familiar with the well-known procedure of “buying out” the bride, when the groom is subjected to numerous trials, the purpose of which is to prove his love for the girl. When the bride is finally “mined”, another colorful custom begins: a young farewell to her parents. All this invariably happens accompanied by songs and dances.
Italian registry office
Having said goodbye to parents, the bride and groom, as well as all friends and relatives invited to the wedding, go to the wedding house, where the solemn registration of a new cell of society takes place. As the ink on the marriage certificates does not have time to dry, the entire wedding procession is sent straight to the groom's house to celebrate a joyful event.
In the old days it was believed that if the bride stumbles on the threshold of her home, this will bring terrible misfortunes to the young family. And that is why Italians have found a very original way to avoid this: according to an ancient tradition, which, incidentally, originated in Italy, a newly-made husband must transfer his wife through the threshold of the house in his arms.
A feast for the whole world
And then the real fun begins with songs and dances, without which it is simply impossible to imagine an Italian wedding. Wine and champagne flow like water, and the tables are full of many delicious dishes and sweets. All guests are handed bags with five sweets, each of which means a wish to a young family: health, wealth, respect and much more.
During the festive feast, each bride must demonstrate her dancing skills by performing a dance that girls learn long before the wedding. But, as a rule, the young never succeeds in completing it alone: numerous relatives and friends join her.
Especially superstitious couples prefer to get married on Sunday at the end of summer or in the fall: this period is considered the most favorable for this solemn event.
Speaking of old wedding traditions, it is worth mentioning the custom that came from Ancient Rome. We are talking about the "honeymoon" during which the newlyweds had to eat honey for the first few weeks of their life together. In modern Italy, especially in some of its provinces, conservative residents still welcome this tradition to strictly follow it, sacredly believing that honey will bring a young couple a sweet family life.
Engagement - marriage proposal to the sounds of serenade
Classical traditions of marriage in Italian suggest a long period of courtship for the chosen one. Temperamental brides attach great importance to the groom's vocal abilities. In the Middle Ages, “duels” of applicants for a hand and heart in the form of playing night serenades under the windows of a beautiful donna were unusually popular. Reciprocating, the girl threw a flower to her beloved at her feet. And now this custom has not lost popularity. Having rather symbolic meaning, the courtship procedure begins with the performance of beautiful serenades in honor of the beloved.
Not so long ago, the usual engagement method was the banal abduction of the bride. Rooted in the distant past, during the time of Ancient Rome, this tradition helped to solve, among other things, the financial problems of the newlyweds: the lack of a large dowry for a girl or the presence of a significant income for her future husband. Italian wedding is preceded by a compulsory engagement of the young. The future husband presents the chosen one with a ring as a sign of tender feelings and serious intentions. Taking the gift, the Italian bride emphasizes her favor.
Conservatism, religious traditions are inherent in all spheres of life of the inhabitants of the Apennine Peninsula. Italy is a country where divorce is still rejected by the church, and family values are sacred. Having received the consent of the beloved for marriage, the young man independently or through matchmakers asks for the hands of the beloved mother of the bride. The financial issues of the dowry, the wedding ceremony, other business aspects are discussed directly with the head of the family - the girl’s father.
Engagement is a sacred ritual preceding an Italian wedding. Parents of the bride give formal consent to marriage at a reception in honor of the betrothal of the young. By tradition, this event lasts until late at night. After obtaining consent for marriage from parents, a long preparation for the wedding begins. From the moment of engagement to the day of marriage, the girl is forbidden to visit the groom's house, being left alone with him. The Italian wedding is a civil list in the city hall and an obligatory church wedding of newlyweds.
The choice of day and month for the celebration
By tradition, Sunday is considered the best day for a wedding. Most modern Italian couples do not order marriage on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. It is believed that a marriage made these days brings misfortune and misfortune:
- Militant Mars patronizes Tuesday. The wedding played on that day will bring ongoing conflict to the family.
- Friday is the day of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Traditions promise tears, unhappiness to the bride who chose this day for the wedding.
Not everything is so simple with the seasons. Each month symbolizes certain feelings. So, winter is recognized as the best period for marriage, bringing immense love, respect, tenderness of feelings. May is considered the most unlucky month for the newlyweds. The Italian wedding, played in October, is the key to tender feelings, but brings failure in financial matters. Wealth, happiness, romantic trips promise marriages concluded in July, August, September.
Traditions and features of a wedding feast in Italy
An Italian wedding implies a “mixed system” of marriage: civil painting in the municipality and a wedding ceremony in the church. Next, the young with invited guests are sent to a wedding banquet. To conduct it, choose a local Italian restaurant with a cozy atmosphere, a chic villa with a celebration in the fresh air, or organize a reception in your own house.
How many guests are invited?
Cordiality is a hallmark of the Apennines. A small wedding is considered to be a reception with the number of guests from 50 people. If in large cities young people do not always adhere to traditions, then in rural areas at least one hundred people are invited to a wedding celebration. Snow-white tents decorated with flowers, live music, creating a festive atmosphere are integral components of an Italian wedding. Traditions say that if guests at a wedding feel at ease, fun, and treats are to their taste - the marriage is blessed not only by heaven, but also by the love of relatives and friends.
What should be on the table?
The traditions of hospitality mean not only the chic decoration of a wedding party: a wide selection of dishes and drinks symbolizes respect for the guests, admiration for the young couple, and a wish for a happy life to the bride and groom. Features of Italian cuisine determine the choice of dishes for each region. Unchanged on the tables of any corner of the country will be:
- seafood snacks, cheese snacks,
- traditional italian pies with olives and cheese,
- all kinds of pasta with a variety of sauces,
- Italian wines, liquors - obligatory "guests" at the wedding.
Is it customary to hold contests and toast?
Sociable, cheerful Italians always congratulate the young on their marriage. The best gift is money. Wealthy parents can present real estate or a trip to a luxury resort on their honeymoon. Naturally, not a single Italian wedding is complete without toasts and congratulations. The entertaining part of the reception is opened by the bride’s wedding dance with her father. Competitions, the invited toastmaster - a rarity at such events. But funny dances, songs accompanied by live music are another element of Italian wedding traditions.
Wedding dresses of the newlyweds at an Italian wedding
In recent decades, there has been a tradition of picking outfits for young people in a classic style: a snow-white dress of the bride, a black tailcoat of the groom. For a long time, the veil has remained unchanged, covering the young head. If a couple is limited to a civil marriage, according to tradition, the newlyweds dress much more modestly: an elegant suit, a dress for a girl in bright colors, a classic suit for a young man.
Features of the Italian wedding take into account local traditions and customs. So, according to the customs of Tuscany, the bride’s wedding dress is black and her head is covered with white wedding dress. Corsican brides, representatives of the south of Italy, from time immemorial go down the aisle in a green wedding dress, symbolizing wealth, fertility, love for the native land.
During the Italian wedding, all traditions and customs are observed. The preface to any celebration is matchmaking, which in Italy looks a little different than other nations. If, in the generally accepted sense, the girl’s hand is asked from her father, in Italy, the bride’s mother is asked for permission to receive a receipt. In case of her consent, matchmakers are sent to the house, they will discuss with the girl's parents the date of the upcoming holiday.
At the reception for the betrothal of young bride's parents give formal consent to their receipt. Usually this event ends only by night. After the engagement took place, young people should not meet in private. In addition, the girl is forbidden to visit the house of her future husband until the ceremony.
How is the matchmaking and engagement
Previously, the bride was chosen at dinner parties or festivities, communicating with her in full view of a large number of people. If a man liked the girl, he organized long courtships and often competed for attention with other guys.
Due to the fact that the Italians are quite emotional, to win the heart of a lover it was considered important to perform romantic acts and wear Venetian masks. Young people wrote poetry, fought duels and sang serenades at night under the windows. A sign of favor was a flower dropped by a woman.
The simplest action was to convey a love letter. And if the danger of a duel is understandable, then singing seems harmless. But in fact, the applicant for the girl’s hand could receive, instead of the expected flower, a night pot launched by an angry father. Italian parents are rather reverent about both sleep and assault on their daughter. And if there were brothers, the concert could end up in beatings.
Therefore, everything was done with the support of 3–7 friends, some of whom monitored the district and prepared the way out.
It was considered unacceptable for a girl to immediately respond with favor. First, she had to take a closer look at the applicant for the role of her husband. If she immediately showed affection, she was considered frivolous, which could scare off a potential groom.
After the confirmation from the girl was received, the man was required to get to the family dinner. To do this, he first established relations with the father of the family, as well as with his sons. The invitation to the table was considered a sign of high respect and disposition.
After this was successful, the guy had to demonstrate all his upbringing and reliability. When the meal was drawing to a close, the future groom asked for the girl’s hands. But, unlike the patriarchal model, in Italy this decision is made by the mother of the bride. If it seems to her that the applicant is behaving too defiantly or is not suitable for another reason, then she may refuse.
This is such an established tradition that even in a modern country it is considered a big mistake to marry without a mother's blessing.
In Italy, Sunday is considered the best day for a wedding ceremony. According to Italians, a marriage made on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday will be short-lived and unhappy. After all, on Friday Jesus Christ was crucified, and the patron saint of Tuesday is the god of war Mars.
When choosing a wedding date, Italians pay attention to the time of year. It is believed that a marriage made in the winter will be long and happy. After all, winter brings love, mutual respect. The ceremony, which was played in September, will not bring financial well-being to the newlyweds, although no questions will arise in terms of feelings. Unsuccessful for the marriage is considered the month of May.
When a wedding permit is received in a narrow family circle, the matchmakers are required to organize the first holiday - a solemn announcement. Since family ties are strong in Italy, such an event is necessary, and all relatives are invited to it.
In small towns, a significant part of the population can come to such official engagements, because everyone is to some extent connected by blood ties. For those relatives who live far away and cannot attend a banquet, they send a special postcard. She informs about a joyful event (not to be confused with an invitation).
After the engagement, the matchmakers begin preparations for the wedding. But between these two days at least six months should pass. Otherwise, it is impossible to organize a worthy holiday, especially since Italians welcome solidity in matters of marriage, believing that it happens only once in a lifetime. Indeed, the termination of marriage became possible only in 1970.
The second reason why they are not in a hurry with triumph is the desire to prevent rumors about the “interesting situation” of the bride.
After obtaining consent to the wedding, the bride and groom are not allowed to be alone. All communication can take place only in the presence of one of the relatives or in public places.
But now young people can communicate by phone or via the Internet. Most often, Italians seek to hold a wedding in late August, early September. The weather at this time is especially pleasant on the peninsula, while the harvest has already ended.
Often young wine is already ready by this time, and if it turned out to be successful, then it is served on the table. There are many superstitions in Italy, some of which are associated with Christianity, and others with paganism.
Therefore, residents are attentive to the day on which the wedding ceremony is scheduled.
- Tuesday is the day patronized by the war god Mars. It is believed that a marriage made on this day will push the newlyweds to instinctive actions. And after the lapse of passion, they will begin to annoy each other and will behave like enemies.
- Friday is the day Christ died for his faith. Due to the fact that the country has long been the center of Christianity, most of it is strongly believing people. Therefore, weddings taking place on this mournful day are not welcome.
- Saturday is the day sponsored by Saturn. He is associated with Kronos devouring his children. It is believed that the planet bearing the name of this deity causes destruction or constant change. According to legend, a marriage made on this day is doomed to divorce.
Sunday is considered the best day for a wedding, because it was on this day that Christ returned to life. And among the ancient Romans this day was patronized by the sun, which is very important for collecting a rich harvest. In addition to choosing a wedding day, the bridesmaids and friends of the groom arranged for the young people a farewell to a free life.
These festivities were held separately, and only the closest people were present at them. Девичник (мальчишник), считается уделом молодых, поэтому на нём редко присутствуют люди в возрасте.
Гостеприимство и радушие − отличительные черты жителей Италии. Самой скромной и немногочисленной свадьбой считается торжество, собравшее около 50 человек. This tradition is especially carefully observed in the countryside, where the number of guests at the celebration reaches one hundred people or more.
According to tradition, it is believed that if the guests feel comfortable, cozy and carefree at the wedding, and everyone likes the treats, then marriage is blessed not only by heavenly forces, but also by native people.
The Italian wedding includes the solemn registration of marriage in the municipality, as well as the wedding in the church. However, if one of the newlyweds already has a marriage behind them, a wedding in the church is not permissible for him. Wedding of persons under the age of 21 is possible only with the consent of the parents.
Guests who arrived at the temple in advance expect the appearance of the hero of the occasion. After all, she must be the first to cross the threshold of the church. To the altar, where the bride is waiting for the bridegroom, her father traditionally leads her. When the newlyweds leave the temple, the assembled guests shower them with rice, bread crumbs, so that their family life is happy, rich.
The holiday begins early in the morning when the next of kin are dressing up young people. And at the same time, it is important that the bride and groom do not see their reflection, because it is believed that evil spirits can see them through the mirror and cause damage.
And due to the fact that on this day they are deprived of protection, such an impact will be strong and destructive. That is why a bouquet is prepared for the girl, suitable for a wedding dress, and a man puts a piece of iron in his pocket for protection.
When the young are ready, the groom comes to the bride's house and pays a ransom. But before that, he must pass the tests to prove that he will be a worthy husband. At the same time, bridesmaids may experience it, but competitions held by brothers or uncles look more colorful. When the girl is bought out, the young people are escorted to the wedding ceremony.
Many Italians first hold a wedding ceremony in the church and only after that register the marriage in the local municipality.
At the same time, it is important that good omens meet along the way. Sun rays or a rainbow are considered good. To bad signs they rank everything connected with destruction or death. The wedding procession should avoid frequent crashes or roads leading to the cemetery. These things predict an unhappy marriage.
After all the formalities are observed, the newlyweds go to the man’s house for a wedding banquet and, as a rule, take a photo for memory. This event should be attended by all relatives and friends. Therefore, the Italian wedding is quite numerous and noisy. A celebration with hundreds of guests is considered modest and crowded.
It is not customary to hold contests or invite a host to celebrate a holiday. On this day, Italians seek communication with relatives whom they have not seen for a long time. And due to the fact that they are quite active, they can find amusement to their liking on their own. But there is compulsory entertainment - the dance of the young. In addition, after a meal, they dance to live music and eat a wedding cake.
At the same time, the melodies are quite rhythmic, and everything from small to large can dance on the dance floor.
Italian wedding traditions
After the registration procedure is completed, the young come to the groom's house and the fun begins. It is believed that the bride in no case should touch the threshold, otherwise it will be trouble. But this can happen by negligence or if the girl stumbles. Resourceful residents of Italy found a way out to prevent this from happening. The groom brings his beloved into the house in his arms.
To protect himself and his family from evil spirits, the groom during the celebration carries a small piece of iron in his pocket. The bride is protected from evil spirits by a veil and a golden wedding ring. Other gold items on the girl on this day should not be.
In Italy, olives are a symbol of well-being. Therefore, on the wedding day, young people should plant an olive tree. This will make their marriage strong, reliable. At the end of the feast, for a long happy life, the young break a glass vase or glass.
The Italian wedding is not complete without dancing, songs, fun. The wedding table is bursting with various dishes, which are designed to symbolize respect for the invited guests. Champagne, wine and liquor are flowing, during the feast beautiful toasts and wishes to the newlyweds of happiness, family well-being are heard.
Before the start of the feast, the newlyweds give guests small presents, while the same ones in turn give young people presents. Money is considered a traditional gift for newlyweds. Their bride puts them in a beautiful bag or handbag that she carries with her during a wedding event.
The Italians are convinced that if the wedding ceremony was held at the highest level, and all the guests were satisfied and well-fed, then the family life of the newlyweds will be successful, and the marriage will be happy.
After the wedding
After the celebration is completed, it is believed that the newlyweds should spend time in private.
The Italians have a tradition: the newlyweds eat a teaspoon of honey throughout the lunar month. It is believed that this helps to attract pleasant emotions, and further family life will be just as sweet.
This custom arose even in the Roman Empire, when the newlyweds left for a remote villa to live there for 1 lunar month. At the same time, they devoted time to each other, and most of the heirs were conceived precisely in the honeymoon.
This tradition gave the name to the common trip that is carried out after the wedding.
In this video - a touching fragment of an Italian wedding:
An Italian-style wedding is a noisy and fun celebration when the bride and groom are surrounded by family and friends. But this style is not suitable for small home celebrations, because it is impossible to recreate the right atmosphere. Would you decide to have a wedding so rich in tradition?