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10 wedding traditions with dark and twisted origins

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 20 Feb 2019

Though weddings are generally considered joyous and bright celebrations, many of their oldest traditions have dark and twisted origins.Many wedding staples, like veils and bridesmaids, were originally tactics used to ward off evil spirits whose aim was to ruin the nuptials.In medieval times, brides started to carry bouquetsmade of garlic and other herbsto disguise their own body odor.When one thinks of weddings, one generally thinks of happiness: they're a day to celebrate family, friends, and, most importantly, the start of a new phase of life.But historically, weddings were riddled with fear. Many traditions, like bridal veils and bridesmaids, had to do with warding off evil spirits. Engagement rings were originally worn to signify ownership, and the father "giving away" the bride used to be strictly business.Here are 10 wedding traditions with surprisingly dark origins.Romans used engagement rings to indicate ownership.According to the American Gem Society, anthropologists believe that engagement rings date back to a Roman custom in which wives wore rings with keys attached, which indicated that their husbands owned them.Engagement rings began to get a little less dark in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioned an extravagant diamond ring for his new wife. The accessory grew in popularity in the Victorian era, and gradually the diamond ring trend trickled down from nobility to the masses.Bridesmaids originally dressed alike to confuse vengeful spirits from harming the bride.There is a theory that the tradition of bridesmaids dressing alike dates back to ancient Rome, the bride considered to be prime bait for vengeful spirits. So, all the women dressed alike to confuse the spirits from interrupting the bride and groom's nuptials.Another theory, however, dates back to the Victorian era. Dr. Liz Gloyn, a lecturer in Classic and Royal Holloway at the University of London, told The Independent that the tradition stemmed from fear of competition."It is my belief that by regulating the bridesmaids formally into exactly the same garments, there was no room for any of them to try and outdo each other, let alone the bride, through the use of grander fabric, grander jewelry," Dr. Gloyn said.Centuries ago, a groom had to "kidnap" the bride if her family disapproved of their union. The best man was put in place to defend the groom in case the family retaliated.The best man originated as the groom's choice protector. Many centuries ago, it was common for a groom to "steal" a bride from her family if they didn't approve of the unionand it was the best man's job to fight the family if they retaliated.It was also common practice for the best man to stand next to the groom with a sword in tow on the day of the wedding. In fact, ancient groups like the Huns, Goths, and Visigoths would store weapons in the floor of the church in the event of a brawl.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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