Traditional weddings in Japan are celebrated according to the Shinto rite, a local religious form and an integral part of Japanese culture.
When a boy and a girl decide to get married, a formal dinner is organized on a day considered favorable by the Japanese almanac, it is a kind of annual publication similar to the calendar, called tomobiki.
During this engagement dinner, called “Yui-no”, gifts are exchanged to wish happiness and luck to the future spouses. The gift list is called "Mokuroku".
This varies according to family and region of belonging. These gifts, rather than having an economic value, are objects that refer to ancient traditions.
Some of the most common gifts are:
• Naga-Noshi: they are sea shells widely used in Japan as symbols of happiness wishes.
• Katsuo-Bushi: it is dried tuna, of great value in Japanese cuisine as it is used as an ingredient that is preserved for a long time, used to make soups. It symbolizes the wish for a love that will last forever.
• Surume: dry cuttlefish, symbolizing the wish for a long marriage.
• Konbu: the seaweed used in cooking. Due to its ability to reproduce quickly, it is given to future spouses as a wish for a large family.
• Shiraga: hemp with strong fibers, symbolizes a family with strong ties. The word also translates into "white hair" and symbolizes the wish to grow old together.
• Suehiro: a fan that opens from end to end, giving the couple a wish for happiness and a better and prosperous future, also referring to the fact that in the Heian period, noble men wrote love poems on fans.
• Yanagi-Daru: a cash gift as a contribution towards the purchase of sake (Japanese alcoholic drink). It has replaced in modern times the gift of a barrel of sake.
• Shugi-Bukuro: a beautiful decorated envelope closed with gold and silver ribbons containing money.
• Sake barrels: those given away during the Yui-no are made of yui-no wood, a willow with tender leaves and symbolize obedience and kindness in marriage.
After the gifts, the rite is performed by a priest wearing traditional Japanese garments. The bride can wear the traditional white dress, or a colorful embroidered kimono, wearing a white cloth on her head, which represents her intention not to be jealous. The groom, on the other hand, wears a ceremonial kimono.
There is also the possibility where both the groom and the bride wear traditional ceremonial kimonos, but in that case, according to a tradition called oironaoshi, which has been in force since the 14th century, the bride and groom change their clothes four times.
This symbolizes the bride's propensity to repeat everyday life. She will wear shiro-muku, a white garment symbolizing purity, to be worn under the kimono worn at the beginning of the ceremony. The white under-kimono is covered by uchikake, a generally red kimono widely decorated and embroidered in gold thread, with patterns representing floral motifs, cranes and nature, all symbols of good luck and health.
Before starting the celebration, both the couple and all the participants in the ceremony must perform the rite of purification, bathing in the water that flows from the fountains at the entrance of each temple. A Japanese wedding is a very intimate moment, only the spouses' family members, closest relatives and witnesses can participate. Traditional Shinto ceremonies were once celebrated in temples, but today they can also take place in miniature Shinto homes or temples that can be found in restaurants and hotels.
During the ceremony, the bride and groom drink three small sips of sake from three cups of different sizes, usually placed on the altar together with fruit, salt and rice. To conclude the celebration, the groom recites an oath of fidelity and obedience, which will also share the bride.
WEDDINGS IN ENGLAND, WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
We talked about Japan, who wouldn't like to visit this city and maybe be lucky enough to be in front of a typical Japanese wedding? Would be a dream! It is a culture rich in detail and so passionate. But now let's move on to weddings celebrated in England, what changes?
In England, as well as in some European countries, people are used to the bachelorette party before reaching the altar. In Great Britain, there are no classic bachelor and bachelorette parties. They are called "hen dos" (for women) and "stag parties" (for men) and usually involve low-cost flights to a European capital with gallons of alcohol and questionable evening wear.
As for the holidays, in some cases two ceremonies are preferred, to save money. With many people to invite, but on a tight budget, it helps to invite some to the "daytime ceremony" where food is served, and others only in the evening when the dances and cocktail rounds begin.
As for clothing, superstition has it that, for the big day, the bride wears four things that bring good luck: something old (maybe from grandparents or parents), something new (recently purchased), something borrowed ( not bought) and something blue.
The dress is generally something sumptuous, so much so that after buying the wedding dress English women ask to make some personal changes according to taste. That day, the bride will be a queen!
The important element, however, is the hairstyle. Great Britain sees the hat first. Harry and Meghan's dress code respects this tradition. Hats are so important that there is even a popular "pre-engagement" joke asking the couple if they should "buy a hat", suggesting that the wedding may be imminent.
So, we see that in England there is a predominance of luxury and grandeur, in Japan, on the other hand, marriage is a simpler rite and aimed at a few close friends.
And which wedding prototype do you aspire to? Japanese or British?