Statistically speaking, June is the most popular month of the year for couples to get married, and in the spirit of this I am going to provide a brief lesson about the sanctity of marriage and its sacred meaning.
By definition, marriage is a legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship. To be a part of a marriage and to fully understand what that kind of formal commitment means, are two different things. As our society has evolved over many decades, so has our views on many social norms; one being marriage. Generations have taken part in this sacred event; this union between two people was characterized by absolute devotion to your spouse. When you say “I do” you are making a public declaration in front of your peers, friends and family, as well as God. This assertion is typically made at a wedding or place of ceremony to join two people together. Every part of this event has significant meaning. A few examples would be:
1. Flowers – Not only are they pleasant to look at and set a romantic tone to any event, but flower bouquets held by the bride as she walked down the aisle consisted of garlic and herbs to drive away negative spirits. Flowers we see today eventually replaced this, such as roses, lilies, etc., symbolizing fertility and everlasting love.
2. Bouquet – As it was made from strong herbs meant to keep evil spirits away, it also covered the smell of those who had not bathed.
3. Brides and their bridesmaids were dressed identically to confuse any evil spirits.
4. Hand fasting – During the wedding ceremony it was customary for couples to pledge their vows while their hands were joined together; his right to her right, his left to her left, so from above they looked like an infinity symbol.
5. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue – Old indicated the transition from a single person to a married lady; New showed the movement to adulthood. Borrowed – borrowing something from a happily married couple was to insure that your marriage would be a happy one. Blue – In ancient Israel that color bordered the wedding dress and symbolized purity, fidelity and smooth sailing.
6. Wedding cakes – were broken over the heads of the bride and groom, originally made of baked wheat or barley. This was to symbolize fertility for the couple.
7. Wedding dresses did not come into play until 1840, as what we now know as a wedding dress. Prior to that, the bride wore her best dress on that day.
8. The exchanging of rings – Some believe that the oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from ancient Egypt, about 4800 years ago. It’s a symbol of fidelity and eternal love, hence the circle of the band. The circle is an ongoing reminder of the promise that the other person has made to you. The ring is traditionally put on the fourth finger of the left hand. This is because the fourth finger contains what is known as the heart-vein (vena amoris), the only vein that leads directly to the heart.
9. June – Became the most popular month of wedding based from the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno, who is the protector of women covering marriage, child bearing and health.
Marriage today is undergoing a metamorphosis. While it is undergoing changes such as shifts in traditional gender roles, we cannot forget why the act of getting married is a sacred act, meant to be cherished, respected and treated to the highest importance.