25 Extremely Strange Wedding Traditions

Posted by on December 6, 2011

The one thing every human society has in common is marriage. It doesn’t matter how isolated or backwards it is, if you stick around long enough then you’ll find yourself at something at least resembling a wedding. That being said, it will almost certainly not be what you expect. In fact it is likely to be gross, confusing, terrifying, or any mixture of the three. But as you read this list of strange wedding traditions just think to yourself – who’s the weird one?

Blackening of the bride


Imagine the most disgusting things in the world. You got it? Now imagine all of your friends throwing those things at you, covering you in grossness, and then tying you to a tree. This is the typical pre-marital humiliation that Scottish brides endures in certain parts of the country. Supposedly if you can handle this you can handle anything, including marriage.


A salty wedding song


Although weddings are usually accompanied by tears, brides and females of the Tujia people in China take matters to a whole new level. Starting one whole month in advance the bride starts to cry for 1 hour everyday. Ten days into the ordeal the mom joins the picture, and then ten days later the grandmother does the same. By the end of the month every female in the family is crying alongside the bride . Why? Well, it’s actually supposed to be an expression of joy as the women weep in different tones, kind of like a song…a very salty, wet song.


Save the date

There is a group of people called the Daur that live in Chinese Inner Mongolia. In order to finalize the wedding date the bride and  groom are required to kill a baby chick while holding the knife together. They then proceed to gut the chick and inspect it’s liver. If the liver looks good then they are allowed to set a date. If not, then they have to repeat the process until they find a satisfactory liver.



In India women born as Mangliks (an astrological combination when Mars and Saturn are both under the 7th house) are thought to be cursed and likely to cause their husband an early death. In order to ward of this curse they must be married first…to a tree. The tree is then destroyed and the curse is broken. Poor tree.


Hold it in

For tribes of the Tidong community in Northern Borneo newly married couples are required to be confined to their house while not emptying their bowels or urinating for three days and nights. Bonding time?


A whale of a tale


In Fiji not only are men expected to ask their father in law for his daughters hand in marriage, they are also expected to bring him a whale tooth. Lets think about this, excluding the black market the only place in the world to get a whale tooth is in the mouth of the largest mammal on earth, which also happens to spend most of its time underwater. That’s true love.


It takes two


In Southern Sudan people of the Neur tribe believe that the marriage is not complete until the woman has had two children. If she fails to do so, the groom is able to seek a divorce.


Massai mucous


At a Massai wedding in Kenya it is not uncommon to see the bride’s father bless his daughter by spitting on her head and breasts before she leaves the village with her new husband.


Kissing party


In Sweden, whenever either the bride or groom leaves their table to use the bathroom the other gets kissed…a lot. If the groom has to go then every male in the reception will get a chance to kiss the bride and vice versa.


Butch up


These days its usually the groom that’s concerned with packing on the muscle, but that’s only because this isn’t Sparta. In Spartan culture, the women would shave their heads and dress up like men before waiting to get stolen away by their groom-to-be. Come on, you’ve seen 300, what did you expect?


A trashy time

In France, after the wedding ceremony is complete, the friends of the bride and groom would collect all of the leftovers, bits of trash, and anything else they deem to be sufficiently gross within a toilet bowl which they would then force the bride and groom to drink out of. Although these days the trash is often substituted with chocolate, you’re still drinking brown stuff out of a real live toilet bowl.


Fairies on the floor


In Ireland when the bride and groom are dancing the bride’s feet have to stay on the floor. The Irish believe that if they don’t, evil fairies will come and sweep her away. The logic? Evil fairies like beautiful things. The bride is beautiful. The fairies can only get to her if she is not touching the ground.



One of the stranger wedding traditions on our list, this one comes to us from the Irish counties of Leitrim and Mayo. In these counties there are 9 young men that are collectively designated as “straw boys”. On the eve  before the wedding the strawboys go to the house of the bride and dance with her. If there are any other women in the home they dance with them too.


Aim carefully

In Yugur culture (an ethnic Chinese minority) the groom will actually shoot his bride with a bow and arrow before the wedding…three times. Ok, so the arrows don’t have arrowheads, but still, thats like getting shot with rubber bullets. Once the deed is done, the groom will collect the arrows and break them, thus ensuring that they will love each other forever.


The human rug

On the Maruesas Islands of French Polynesia after the wedding reception is over the relatives of the bride all lay side by side in the dirt, face down. The bride and groom then walk across them like some sort of human rug.

David Pegg


After helping found the United Nations, the United States, and United Airlines, David consigned himself to a transient life of writing lists and sleeping on park benches.

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  • http://coffeeat1100.blogspot.com Robin

    Regarding #1 – According to what I’ve read about Queen Victoria, she was quite happy and excited about getting married to Prince Albert. After he died, she wore black every single day until she died as well. Is there any evidence that her wedding dress color was associated with mourning?

  • Oohrah

    This article has got to be one of the WORST ever when it comes to ethnocentrism/racism and sexist attitudes! Who is the to determine whose culture is “backwards?” For someone with a degree in International Business, the author is awfully stupid!

  • JP

    Not #1 – #25. I say 1 because it was first on the list.

  • JP

    Yeah just to back up Rachel. #1 definitely is not practiced here in Scotland. Nobody I’ve talked to has ever heard of it. So maybe rethink that ‘every Scottish bride’ bit. Because I can tell you now, if you throw sh*t over a Scottish woman she will flat out f*ck you up… assuming her friends and family (particularly brothers) don’t get to you first.

  • Laurinda

    Poor tree (#22), but not poor chick (#23)?

  • Rachel

    Actually, the first one isn’t true. That’s not one of ours. I thought about it, and then asked my mum and grandmother, and they’d never heard of it either. Sorry!

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Syed Balkhi

      According to various sources online, it is still practiced in certain parts of the country:

      Orkney, Aberdeen & Grampian, Highlands, Outer Hebrides, Angus & Dundee, Fife

  • Akaliza Keza

    In No. 5, you say, “especially in nations like Rwanda” – why would spread a lie about our country? In Rwanda, anyone who did something so awful would be arrested. It is so upsetting to see such an untrue statement listed here – and, for me, all the other “facts” have now lost all credibility. Was any proper research conducted at all?

    • Akaliza Keza

      Having calmed down, I’d like to add that you probably had no intention to mislead people. I know there is a LOT of false or outdated information about Rwanda online so it is quite possible that that is where you got your information without knowing that it is isn’t of modern Rwanda.

      I find it very painful to read such statements when I know the truth (I live in Rwanda) and sometimes I lose my temper – I’d like to apologise for that.

  • Westren Mandap Exporters

    superb.just love it.

  • jamdesigncenter

    superb n i am just loving it.some traditions are full of fun

  • Sam

    Charivari isn’t what you mentioned. It is when the community/priest do not approve of a marriage (say an older widow marrying a young man) and the community protests by banging loud pots, voicing their displeasure and men will dress up as women (still pretty weird o.o) to protest it.

  • Gyanendra

    In case of indian marriage,it only the sister-in-law who tries to steal the shoe of groom,not all people in bride side.

  • eddie

    women wearing white fro their wedding symbolises purity and virginity.

  • volklman

    The Whale in #20 definitely does not have teeth. Fuck that quest.

  • Hanna

    #17 is normal in Denmark, too.

  • Claire

    how is #13 one of the stranger items on the list? if anything, it’s the most normal, innocent and pleasant.

  • Susana Clarinda Ferreira Machado

    For #15 , it is not a toilet bowl but a chamber pot, a brand spanking new chamber pot bought for the occasion.

  • http://www.tuxandbunny.comhttp://www.youtube.com/shadowydreamer Lorna Appleby

    I’m not seeing #5 as “strange” .. more so as horrific and something to be stopped…

  • T Cohen

    10: FYI Altar is the correct spelling.

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Syed Balkhi

      Great catch :) Fixed that as well.

  • Sebastian

    lol at Polterbrand…
    It’s called Polterabend.
    brand is burn
    abend is evening

    Polter is hard to translate…
    its meaning is a combination of crash..noise… and things like that.. hard to describe..

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Syed Balkhi

      Thanks for noticing the typo and the explanation. Fixed it :)