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Reading: Wedding Custom

Read the passage and do the tasks that follow

Marriage is an ancient religious and legal practice celebrated around the world. Although the reasons that people marry are similar in many places, wedding customs vary from country to country.

In many countries, it is customary for the bride to wear a white dress as a symbol of purity. In traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies, the bride wears a white kimono. The tradition of wearing a special white dress only for the wedding ceremony started around 150 years ago. Before that, most women could not afford to buy a dress that they would only wear once. Now, bridal dresses can be bought in a variety of styles and fabrics, and many brides have their dress specially made.

In different countries, colors other than white are worn by the bride or used as part of the wedding ceremony. In certain Asian countries and in the Middle East, red and orange are considered symbols of joy and happiness. In Chinese cultures, wedding invitations are usually red and gold as these are colors symbolic of wealth and happiness. Wedding guests give gifts of money to the newlyweds in small red envelopes. Not all cultures, though, consider money a suitable gift. In many Western countries, especially the U.K, wedding guests give the bride and groom household items that they may need for their new home.

As part of many traditional wedding ceremonies, a bride wears a veil. Wearing a veil that covers the head and face is a tradition that is over 2,000 years old. Veils were originally worn as a sign of secrecy and modesty and could only be removed by the husband after the ceremony. Today, many brides wear a veil, but only for decoration. In some countries, a veil is placed between the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony so that they cannot see or touch each other until they are married.

In many cultures, couples exchange rings, usually made of gold or silver, during the marriage ceremony. The circular shape of the ring is symbolic of the couple’s eternal union. In Brazil, it is traditional to have the rings engraved, with the bride’s name on the groom’s ring, and vice versa. The wedding ring is usually worn on the third finger of the left or right hand, because it was once believed that a vein ran directly from this finger to the heart.

Flowers play an important role in most weddings. Roses are said to be the flowers of love, and because roses usually bloom in June, this has become the most popular month for weddings in many countries. Ivy is also used in wedding bouquets because in early Greek times, it was thought to be a sign of everlasting love. After the wedding ceremony, it is customary in many countries for the bride to throw her bouquet into a crowd of well wishers-usually her single female friends. It is said that the person who catches the bouquet will be the next to marry. In Turkey, when a woman gets married, her female friends write their names on the inside of the shoes the bride will wear on her wedding day. After the ceremony, if someone’s name has rubbed off and cannot be read, it is said that this person will be the next to marry.

Many wedding customs that originated in one part of the world have been incorporated into marriage ceremonies in other countries. Today, couples can choose from many of the world’s traditional customs to create their own special ceremony.


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