Eastern vs Western Culture: Weddings8 Nov 2021
In Asian Culture: Weddings, we looked at wedding customs in China and Japan. Let’s look into the westing customs of Vietnam, India, and western weddings now.
The wedding ceremony in Vietnam is preceded by two essential ceremonies – Proposal and Engagement ceremonies. These may be held months before the wedding or on the same day. The wedding itself starts with a ceremony to ask permission to receive the bride, receiving the bride at her house and escorting her to the groom, followed by the official wedding ceremony. Each ceremony is held on an auspicious day and is influenced by Confucian and Buddhist ideologies. Brides will usually wear traditional gowns, with reds and pinks. The groom may also wear a traditional outfit, usually in blue. Wedding guests avoid shorts and sleeveless shirts, and often give money (placed inside an envelope) as a gift. It is essential to know if a guest has recently lost a family member, they should apologize to the couple and not attend the wedding as it’s thought to bring bad luck to the hosts.
Weddings in India are enormous, festive occasions filled with color, music, dance, and rituals depending on the region and religion of the couple, although the great majority are Hindu weddings. A traditional Indian wedding lasts on average 3 days. The first day involves a priest performing a ceremony with only the couple, the bridal party, and close relatives in attendance. The second day often begins with a ceremony where the bride and her female friends and family members have intricate henna patterns drawn on their hands and feet. This day finishes with the Sangeet – a celebration of the wedding to come which all wedding guests are usually invited. On the third day, the main wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and wedding reception occur. If you’re invited to an Indian wedding, the invitation should clearly state which events you are invited to. If the couple requests “no boxed gifts” at the wedding, it is common to send gifts to the couple’s home, or offer money or a gift certificate instead, in which case offering an amount ending in one is good as such numbers are auspicious in Indian culture.
The Western wedding is often referred to as a “white wedding”, which relates to the traditional white color of the bride’s wedding dress. Brides in Western countries often wear white, off-white, or silver-colored dresses. Other colors can be chosen, but black is usually avoided due to its association with mourning. Western countries offer a variety of choices, with church weddings, outdoor weddings, and home weddings all being popular choices. The Western wedding ceremony is followed by a wedding reception, which includes cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet, and the wedding dance. Guests usually give practical gifts for the couple’s home, but money gifts are becoming more common. On the wedding day, guests should arrive on time, and female guests generally avoid wearing white. Although there are many rich traditions associated with Western weddings, more and more people are adapting those traditions to create a more personalized ceremony and reception that holds more meaning to them.
If you found this article interesting, you might also be interested in taking a look at The Differences between East and West in Culture and Education and Asian Culture: Wedding.