There are literally hundreds of different wedding customs and traditions in this big old world of ours and many of them are so outrageous as to make us laugh, unless of course, they affect you. I for one am very grateful not to live in any of the cultures that follow some of these traditions. I like the fact that the biggest challenge that I face is whether to give my guests glass wedding favors or crystal wedding favors. Here are a few customs that I thought were a bit over the top.
If you lived in Fiji, you would have to ask your father in law for his daughters hand in marriage. That is not so far fetched, right. Heck, we do that here as well. It does not end there. Once you have asked for and received permission, now you have to give your future father in law a gift or he will change his mind and call off the wedding. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as strolling down to the local sears and picking out a nice power saw. You have to present the man with the tooth of a whale. Now, I was under the impression that whales do not have teeth and that they eat krill; a small shrimp like animal that swim in schools. But, apparently, some whales do have teeth. You would know this, I was told, if you ever watched the discovery channel.
Okay, so let’ say you love this girl so much that you are willing to take a boat out onto the ocean and wait for a bunch of Orcas, the Killer Whales to swim by. Then let us suppose you are a really smooth talker and you manage to convince one of them that you are a whale dentist and he has a tooth that just has to go. You pull it, high tail out of there, you give it to the father in law, and you are done, right? Sorry, guess again. Now you have to prepare a feast for her family. I am not talking about grabbing her mom and pop and popping into the nearest Burger King. You have to prepare, with your own two hands, a feast for her entire family. Once you fed her twenty–plus member family and you kicked your own butt for not falling in love with an orphan, you still have one more task to complete before you can get hitched.
In honor of your new bride’s father, you have to take your wife to a tattoo parlor or the local holy man, and have her tattooed. It is their belief that the bride will be prettier with a tattoo and a pretty bride is a direct reflection on her father so you had better make it a very pretty and ornate tattoo or, you guessed it, he can change his mind. By the way, if the father in law changes his mind at this point, you are out one whales tooth because he is under no obligation to return it.
So that is how it is done in Fiji. The next time you think that planning a wedding is way harder than it ought to be and you start to begrudge your responsibilities, think about what you would have to go through if you were in Fiji and count your blessing because you have it easy in comparison.
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