Last month, we took a look at some common food superstitions. That got us thinking that many events and holidays feature important food traditions – and that those traditions are different in different parts of the world. So, over the next few months, we’ll examine some of the food traditions related to celebrations like birthdays, baby showers, and important holidays. Today, we start off our traditional food exploration with traditional wedding foods from around the world.
Traditional Wedding Foods from Across the Globe
- In North America and the United Kingdom, it’s tradition to have a multi-tiered cake. Traditional purists in North America save the top layer for their first anniversary, while in England the top is saved for the christening of the couple’s first child. In England, more often than not the cake is a heavy fruitcake, like the kind served at Christmas, to make that preservation easier.
- In Italy, unmarried guests used to be given a slice of cake to take home and put under their pillow to dream of their future spouse.
- In France, the traditional “cake” is actually a tower of cream puffs covered in sugar or chocolate, and in some Scandinavian countries the cake is a tower of individual almond cakes.
- In Bermuda, the cake is topped with a sapling tree, which the couple plants at their home to grow along with their marriage.
- In Greece, the bride’s mother breaks bread over the couple’s heads in the entry to the home where they will live together to symbolize the bride and groom’s equal strength in keeping the marriage going through thick and thin.
- In Poland, the bride and groom each taste a piece of bread to indicate that they will never go hungry.
- Ukranian wedding bread is made from a sweet egg dough, and the loaf is decorated. The bride and groom eat pieces of it after walking around it together.
- Moroccan guests are given pastries made with almonds and orange blossoms to demonstrate the hosts’ generosity.
- Brazilians serve casadinhos, small sandwich cookies whose name translates to “married.”
- Mexican weddings feature Mexican wedding cookies, or pan de polvo, small butter cookies covered in powdered sugar.
- In the Philippines, the bride and groom serve sticky baked treats made from rice and coconut to symbolize that they are “glued” together.
- In the Philippines, a whole pig is roasted to bring prosperity and abundance to the bride and groom.
- In China, wild geese may be served to symbolize a long and happy union, as these birds mate for life. Peking duck is also often served, because it is a red dish, and red is the Chinese color of luck.
Rice and Noodles
- In Thailand, rice is included in many wedding dishes because it symbolizes the importance of love.
- Long noodles are served in Korea to symbolize a long life for the couple.
- In Italy, guests are given Jordan almonds (“Italian confetti”) to bring fertility to the couple and to represent both the sweet and bitter aspects of the couple’s life together.
- In Korea, family members throw chestnuts and dates at the bride so she can catch them in her skirt. They represent the children she will have.
The Bottom Line
Food is clearly a huge part of the important ritual of marriage, no matter where in the world it takes place. There are so many wedding food traditions around the world that we couldn’t cover them all here.
Tell us: What are some of the wedding traditions in your family or culture? Let us know in the comments.
Christina Newberry is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in national and local magazines and newspapers. With a Bachelor’s degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Victoria and a Journalism Certificate from Langara College, Christina brings keen curiosity and the love of a good story to her work with HealthCastle.com.
Christina is a passionate traveler and urban gardener with an interest in vegetarian eating and making good, tasty food from scratch. Sharing lessons learned from her own experiences, Christina writes about lifestyle topics for HealthCastle, with a focus on eating well at home and on the road.