Sweet Wedding Rituals

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant  © (14/07/2019)
Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Rituals |
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Sugar and honey as used
                    in wedding ceremoniesThe giving of sweet things is a common wedding celebration custom - think of the Greek and Italian custom of giving guests five sugar-coated almonds wrapped up in tulle, five being an indivisible number, or the , the Dutch bride sugar, also five lollies (I like barley sugar for this because it is a nice bright orange), and the common Australian wedding custom of giving chocolates or cookies for favours.

Going one step further and incorporating a sweet ritual in your ceremony, using either honey or sugar,  can add a symbolic richness that really speaks to the hearts of your guests.

Honey Ceremony

The honey ritual,  in which the marrying couple each dip their pinky into a dish of honey is a very symbolic act which is steeped in Persian roots, but commonly observed in other Islamic traditions too.

In Ancient Egypt, honey bees were regarded to be a symbol of royalty.  Honey bees were associated with Eros/Cupid, the god of love, in Ancient Greece and Rome. He is often shown dipping his fingers into honey in art works of the Renaissance period. And the Hindu god, Kama, the god of love, like Cupid has a bow and arrow. His bowstring is made up of bees. And, very apt for marriage, bees provide an excellent example of teamwork, and of working unceasingly for the common good.

Honey in itself is powerfully symbolic of so much of what we wish for a marrying couple. Because it is not hospitable to bacteria, tt never spoils. Honey found in Egyptian tombs proved to be still edible thousands of years later. It has healing properties. The characteristics of an individual pot of honey depend very much on what goes into it - which flowers the bees sourced the pollen from, just as each marriage is uniquely influenced by the input of the couple. It is nourishing.  And it is sweet. So when we use honey in a ceremony it represents the sweetness of wisdom in Shamanism, and the sweetness of life, as referenced in the words of the great Persian poet, Rumi
In companionship and happiness
        may you be like milk and honey
in union and fidelity
And if you would like to enhance the symbolism, a little effort will deliver rose-flavoured honey, adding another universal symbol of love.
Recipe:  Bring a cup of mild-flavored honey to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Turn off the heat as soon as the honey starts to foam up. Stir in a half cup of fresh rose petals (make sure they are organic and well-washed). Let the mixture sit for four hours. Bring to a boil again. Pour through a strainer and discard the petals.
Some practicalities for a honey ceremony
  • You won't need much honey, but you will need to have it in a container (jar, glass, or dish) that allows the honey to be visible to your guests (I prefer glass), that can be presented without risk of spilling, and that can be covered (if outside) to keep flies and bees away.
  • choose thicker honey (in a jar) rather than thinner honey in a squeeze bottle
  • you can feed one another one at a time, which I prefer as it is more dramatic when the honey is presented to each of you in turn, or you can scoop up the honey simultaneously and feed it to one another at the same time.
  • Have some wet wipes discreetly handy!

Sugar Sealing

A rather lovely Sephardi custom is for the couple to eat sugar under the chuppah. Prior to her real-life wedding Mayim Bialik (Amy in Big Bang Theory) and her parents observed the Indian Jewish custom of the bride's parents placing sugar on the bride's tongue for good luck after the signing of the legal engagement contract. This could be expanded to include the parents of both of you, and could be integrated with a parental blessing.

Persian aghd ceremony

The Sofreh Aghd, a spread consisting of multiple symbolic items representing an element of the couple's new life together, is an Iranian cultural tradition with roots stretching back into Persian history. After the legal proceedings are concluded, the aghd ceremony begins with happily married ladies holding a white cloth over the heads of the bride and groom while another rubs two kallehqand  (large loaves of sugar) over the couple's head to symbolise the raining down of sweet joy and happiness on the coupleThe photos below are of two intercultural weddings where, in each case, we incorporated the groom's Persian Zoroastrian marriage customs, including the sugar ritual
Persian sugar ceremonies - two photographs of
                      couples under the cloth having sugar sprinkled on
Thanks for reading!

Jenny xxx Let's talk soon about how you
                      can have the best ceremony ever

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