Lithuanian Wedding Traditions
Lithuania is a tiny European country which was one of the last to be converted to Christianity. Perhaps this is why they believe so strongly in the traditions surrounding a couple's wedding.
A traditional Lithuanian wedding ceremony has three distinct parts. The wedding begins with the matchmaker who brings the couple together and organises dowry. This is also where the bride says goodbye to her family and her home. This part of the ceremony is accompanied by music and farewell songs as the bride leaves her home and sets out to the home of her groom.
Riding ahead of the bride are her dowry drivers who arrive with chests filled with things the bride had collected over the years for this very purpose. The chest may be filled with fabric, towels, clothing or bedclothes.
At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, the bride enters the church wearing a wreath of rue to symbolise her childhood. The ceremony begins with the matron of honour removing the rue and replacing it with the headdress of a mature woman to symbolise the transition of marriage.
After the exchange of vows and rings, the couple traditionally drink wine and eat salt and bread before entering the wedding reception to symbolise joy, tears and work in their new life together.
The final stage of the Lithuanian wedding is the 'coming back' which occurs around a week after the honeymoon. This part of the ceremony includes a visit by the bride to her parent's home where she is welcomed as a guest, rather than a member of the family, representing her transition into her own home and family. Many Lithuanians still follow these traditions as they strongly believe it will help them maintain a long and happy marriage.
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