Friday, August 15, 2003

Ancient Marriage Rituals Examined

This post started innocently enough when I read an interesting tidbit about the use of honey in ancient Persian marriage rituals. Apparently, newlyweds in ancient Persia were expected to drink honey mead every day for one "honey month" to get in the right "frame of mind" for a happy marriage, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. I searched for additional information about ancient marriage customs and found this interesting piece detailing the findings of Lance Rancier, author of The Sex Chronicles: Strange-But-True Tales From Around The World (General Publishing Group), a look at courtship rituals in more than 300 ancient cultures.

Ancient Persians who died as virgins were married before burial. The corpse's spouse received a fee.

In central Europe, a Teutonic woman prided herself on standing by her man, even on the battlefield. According to superstition, she proved she was marriage-worthy by killing one of her beloved's enemies.

In ancient Britain, women married in their finest dresses, but the groom wed "skyclad" — in the nude. This practice might explain the tradition of June weddings. (Maybe they were part Betazoid?)

The book also answers such eternal questions as "Why did Tibetans splash newlyweds with yak grease?"

I also came across another site describing the history and symbolism of an ancient Persian wedding: http://jorge.paulodesigns.com/wedding/ceremony.html
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