For a region that is abundantly rich in history and traditions, it’s no wonder that a memorable moment such as your wedding day is full of not only traditions, but Italian wedding superstitions as well. Italian weddings are nothing short of high energy and celebrations in every corner; however, there are sure to be some hidden treasures that you might not be aware of.
To start, the date of your wedding day itself is an extremely important decision. For traditional Italian weddings, getting married on a Friday is seen as bad luck. The preferred day over all is a Sunday, where this is seen as good luck, and this day signifies not only fertility, but prosperity for the newlyweds in their future life together. On the night before the big day, the bride-to-be traditionally stays with her parents one last time before embarking on her new journey.
The wedding day itself is full with small details that have traditional and superstitious backstories to them. The groom himself, as a last gift to his fiancé before she becomes his wife, traditionally pays and ensures delivery of the bridal bouquet. The bride chooses the arrangement to fit her personal style, and is then presented the finishing product as she is getting ready. Even before she leaves for the traditional church venue, the bride is not allowed to see herself in the mirror before she is married! The only way to avoid the bad luck that is ensured to follow would be to remove either one glove or one shoe before taking a peek. Once she is ready to leave to meet her husband-to-be, she will make an ever so small tear in her veil for good luck for the future years to come. Similarly, the groom will hold onto a small piece of iron in the pocket of his suit. This stems from the ancient Roman tradition of iron engagement rings before gold or silver, which symbolized an unbreakable bond between the two individuals, much like the strength of iron itself.
After the ceremony, as the freshly wed couple are walking out of the church, their guests greet the duo by throwing rice on them to wish fertility onto the couple. And much like it is in other cultures, it is extremely frowned upon for guests to wear white to another’s wedding. At the reception celebrations, there are many wedding traditions stemming from superstitious beliefs. Typically, a single glass vase is broken by the bride and groom, and the number of pieces that break off represent the number of happy years of married the couple will have. Talk about pressure! Additionally, guests usually make contributions towards the wedding expenses as a token of their gratitude. One was is through a fun “auction” that takes place during the reception festivities. The groomsmen take the groom’s tie and cut it into many, many pieces and offer the small pieces to the guests to buy. At the end, the bride and groom receive all of the earnings from their loved ones to go towards wedding expenses! The bride does her part as well. She typically carries around a small bag so guests can give the couple their sentimental cards and well wishes. As a fun twist, sometimes the cards are exchanged for a special dance with the bride herself.
When it comes to dancing, there are a few Italian wedding superstitions to be aware of in the Italian culture during weddings. During the first dance as bride and groom, the guests partake in literally wrapping the couple in streamers as they waltz for good luck. Once the couple’s first dance is finished, it is now time for the guests to contribute. “La Tarantella” is a dance that the guests complete to wish good fortune upon the newlyweds. In this dance, the guests circle around the bride and groom while holding hands. As the music becomes faster and faster, the guests rotate directions in this lighthearted and traditional performance. To wrap up the evening, as a thank you gift, bombonieres (wedding favors) are distributed to the guests at the end of the night. These favors traditionally consist of a small present of some sort, sugared almonds, and topped off with a lush ribbon. However, the number of sugared almonds inside each box is extremely important. There should be an odd number of treats inside, usually 5 or 7, to keep the couple’s “good luck” streak going.
Overall, there are many Italian wedding superstitions based on traditional beliefs that are incorporated into their special day. Every superstition is based from centuries of wedding experiences, some even going all the way back to ancient Rome!