- Blackening of the Bride – Scotland
You may kiss the bride now
Ever heard of the phrase ‘mooh kaala karna’ (i.e. to blacken your face symbolizing a loss of honour)? If you were a Scottish bride, it would mean something entirely different. Before the wedding, the bride-to-be is smeared with any and every gross substance her friends can find. Eggs, rotten curry, fish, mud, feathers—everything finds a way on the bride’s face and body. And then, comes the public humiliation: the blackened bride (these days even the groom is subjected to the same treatment, talk of gender equality and all) is paraded all over town! And all this to prepare them for the tough times that lie ahead in marital life.
Do say: Yeah, being married is tough.
Don’t say: Congrats! When will you be blackened?
- Polterabend – Germany
Will you clean up the mess, honey?
No one is more pitiable than two people about to get married. Almost all the wedding rituals focus on giving the poor couple-to-be a hard time. And silly romantic fools, they deserve it too.
So, the Germans have this absolute mayhem-causing pre-wedding tradition called Polterabend. Family and friends gather to give to the bride and groom a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of married life. And so, they go on a breaking and bashing spree, smashing to pieces crockery, tiles, vases, basically anything except glasses and mirrors. The bride and the groom have to then clean up everything because that’s what they will be doing the rest of their lives. So if you fancy cleaning up as a wedding tradition, travel to Germany and enjoy your nuptials there.
Do say: Please invite me to your polterabend bash.
Don’t say: Aur karo shaadi.
- Pangs of Childbirth – China
The man’s burden
All you ladies who always fumed at God for giving all the pain to women, can now smile a little. In China, they make young newly-married men get a taste of some much-needed pain. The young man has to walk on burning coals carrying his bride while entering their new home. Apparently, this is to ensure an easy labour for the wife. Yeah, dude, you better do it.
Do say: When is the baby due?
Don’t say: How many children do you plan to have?
- Bathroom Ban – Indonesia
Oh boy! We are in kindergarten. The Tidung community from northern Borneo believes so. You naughty child, if you marry into the community, then no bathroom for 3 days and 3 nights! No, not even a piss! For this reason, the bride and groom are allowed only meager meals, just enough to keep them alive. And pesky relatives keep a close watch, lest the newly-married couple steals a kiss… or a piss. The elders say it’s good for…ahem…fertility. Yeah, with all that bladder control…
Do say: Marriage is all about…er… control.
Don’t say: Would you like a glass of chilled beer, buddy?
- Apple Again – Austria
Eat it or beat it
This one is gross. For the male lover, of course. In the rural Austria of the 19th century, women tucked a sweet little apple slice under their armpits as they danced in the arms of their partners. After the dance, they offered that sweaty apple to their partner! To eat, dodo! Now if the lover wanted to be the apple of her eye, he had to eat that sweat-drowned apple slice. Ah! What all men will do to woo.
Do say: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Don’t say: Here, have a banana.