Monday, August 3, 2015

Swedish Bröllop: Celebrate Heirtage

I love History... I really do. 

And it's not because I like dates and facts. In and of themselves, dates and facts don't have anything of value to offer. But when paired with events, people, memories, traditions... history has quite a bit to offer. 

Something that has meaning and relevance. 

When was the last time you really gave any thought to your heritage? Where your family came from?

I'm often amazed at how much influence heritage exerts. Not just in time honored tradition, but something in the DNA. I can't say exactly what. Or maybe it's patterns... the things we share with children that are passed on from generation to generation. 

But that's a conversation for another day. 

This train of thought began while I was watching an episode of TLC's "Four Weddings. 

Just for quick reference, the basic gist of the show is a competition between four brides who attend one another's weddings and vote to decide best dress, best ceremony, best reception and overall score. The winner gets a luxury honeymoon. 

But anyways...

On the particular episode I was watching, a young lady marrying a Swede happened to be apart of the competition and she made a comment about wanting to include bits of her husband's heritage. This intrigued me, so I got comfortable on the couch and waited for her turn at the alter.

Let's just say, he wore funny clothes, they misused a Dala Horse and the "frog dance" is just another version of the chicken dance.

I was incredibly disappointed.

Let me begin by saying that my family left Sweden 100 years ago and I know more about Swedish wedding traditions than this poor couple... and the groom was born there.

So, to encourage you to pursue learning about your own heritage, I wold like to... no, love to... share some of what is so special about Swedish weddings, or "bröllop."

So here goes.

4 Swedish Wedding Traditions

1. The Coins in the Shoes

 Before a Swedish bride takes a walk down the isle, she receives a gift from her parents. And it's not old, nor new, not borrowed or blue. Actually, she gets money. Sort of. While not worth anything significant, like a dowry, the bride is given a gold coin for her right shoe from her father, and a silver coin for the left from her mother so that she will, "never go without." 

 2. A Crown of Myrtle Leaves

Recently, flower crowns have become all the rage in American weddings, but Swedish brides have been wearing them for years. Most traditions would have it that the bride wears white to show her virginity, but in Sweden, it's the flower crown (sometimes replaced with a real traditional crown). 

3. Three Wedding Rings

 Well men, fork over the cash, because Swedish brides get not two, but THREE rings. The first is her engagement ring, but on her wedding day, she receives two more: one for marriage and the other for motherhood.  

 4. Shouting Vows

Normally someone in any pair has the louder, more dominant personality. But in a Swedish wedding, the couple competes to wear the pants in the relationship. There are typically two ways this one goes: One... whoever says, "I do!" the loudest, or two... whoever crosses the threshold of the church first during the recessional. I'll let you decide which you prefer. 

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