Jewish Wedding Traditions and Customs
Updated: Mar 4
Jewish weddings are filled with meaningful rituals and customs that have been passed down for generations. From the chuppah to the breaking of the glass, each tradition holds a significant symbol and is an important part of the wedding celebration. Here's a look at some of the most well-known Jewish wedding traditions.
The chuppah is a canopy used during the wedding ceremony, often made of cloth or flowers and supported by four poles. The chuppah represents the new home the couple will build together and symbolizes the bride and groom's commitment to each other. During the wedding ceremony, the couple is under the chuppah, symbolizing their protection from the outside world.
The ketubah is a written agreement between the bride and groom, signed by two witnesses, that outlines the obligations of the husband and wife in their marriage. This document is traditionally written in Aramaic and is displayed in the couple's home after the wedding.
Breaking of the Glass
At the end of the wedding ceremony, the groom breaks a glass by stepping on it with his right foot. This tradition symbolizes the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the idea that even during a joyous occasion, one should remember and mourn the tragedy that took place there. The breaking of the glass is also a reminder that even in a happy marriage, there will be moments of sadness and difficulty.
A henna ceremony is a traditional event that takes place before the wedding and is often celebrated by the bride and her friends and family. It is a custom tradition in not only East Asia but also the Middle East. During this ceremony, the bride's hands and feet are decorated with henna, a temporary tattoo made from a paste made from henna leaves. The henna symbolizes joy, good luck, and protection, and is said to bring the bride good fortune in her marriage.
The badeken is a tradition where the groom sees the bride for the first time on their wedding day while she is veiled. The veil represents the bride's modesty and the badeken symbolizes the groom's acceptance of the bride as she is, with all of her imperfections and strengths. The badeken also represents the groom's commitment to covering and protecting the bride throughout their marriage.
Wedding bands are a crucial part of Jewish weddings and are exchanged during the ceremony. The ring represents the couple's commitment to each other and is a symbol of their love and devotion. The wedding bands are worn on the index finger of the right hand to symbolize that the love between the couple is always present.
These are just a few of the many meaningful traditions and customs that are part of Jewish weddings. Each tradition holds a significant symbol and serves to remind the bride and groom of the importance of their love and commitment to each other, and their responsibilities to their families and communities. Whether you are planning a traditional Jewish wedding or simply looking to incorporate a few elements into your own wedding, these customs are a beautiful way to add meaning to your special day.