The fanfare with which marriage celebrations take centerstage, it is only apt that there is a World Marriage Day on the horizon. Even more aptly, this observance falls on the second Sunday of the month of February- the month of love what with Valentine’s Day (or even week) doing the rounds and the wedding season on in full swing. To celebrate World Marriage Day 2020, here’s a roundup of 20 very interesting trivia that will have you devoted, with all heart and soul-
Whoever believes marriage to be the most sacred of things sure isn’t aware of the traditions. The seemingly very romantic culmination of marriage ceremonies with a kiss is a draw upon the Roman ‘legacy’ where marriage as a contract had to be sealed off with a kiss, much like all and any other contracts!
The longest marriage ever recorded spanned some 90 years and 291 days. Interestingly, the record is held by Karam and Kartari Chand of India, a country where marriage is believed to be an institutions that binds the partners together for not one but seven lives!
While you do not have to cater to a threshold age to tie the knot (though the minimum restriction is a legally binding one) in the times of today, ancient days were pretty adamant. So much so that the ancient city- state of Sparta had its male citizens forfeit their right to vote if they did not get married by then.
By contrast, England of the 1500s had laws that allowed even 10 year olds to get married!
And that hasn’t been the only strange law doing rounds in the England marital scene of the past. Another very interesting and absurd law in the UK up until 1912 had the husband convicted of every crime committed by his wife under the consideration that he had coerced her into doing it!
The 1500s seems to have been a really interesting time to exist. Most people of those times got married in June because after a yearly bath in May, they were still smelling pretty good by the coming month! And even if there might have been some odor doing them down, the bride’s bouquet of flowers was ‘perfume’ enough to do that away!
Monogamy might be the by and large precedent of today for a happy marriage but ancient times sure were much more fun! Pardon us for the over and over preference for the good ol’ times but this one indeed is such a piece of trivia that you can’t simply remain unamused by. With six marriages to his name, not only Henry VIII was quite a distinguished monarch but he also married women all of whom were related to each other!
Royal tales- absurdities to be precise- abound when it comes to marriages. Belgian king Leopold II- the longest reigning one to be precise, again- was so sick on the day of his marriage to Marie Henrietta that his brother the Archduke Charles had to stand in for him as proxy!
And yet Belgium has not witnessed the level of weirdity than what France did on the wedding of their monarch Philip Augustus with Ingeborg. Half way through the ceremony, the King decided he did not like his bride. With royal whims at play, the new Danish bride was immediately stay put in a nunnery where she lived out her remaining years, married yet alone.
While ‘popping the question’ is the ultimate factor that leads to marriage, it is perhaps unfair that even in the modern times, it is generally the man who takes the initiative. However, the growing but not yet substantial proportion of marriage proposals by women have Scotland to look up to as their role model. In fact it was as far back as in 1228 that the European country granted also its women the ‘right’ to propose to men for marriage!
Interestingly, proposals by women stemmed also from customs of countries like Ireland, England and of course Scotland. However it was only leap years (like the one this time) that women could propose marriage to men on the ‘once in a blue moon’ 29th day of February.
Talking about traditions, let’s also explore the origin of the post wedding honeymoon period. Dating back 4000 years ago to a Babylonian practice, honeymoon or honey month was indeed a whole month after the wedding when the bride’s father would supply his son- in-law with all the mead, a honey beer, that he required. In modern interpretation, the obligations might have waned but the sweet sounding romance still remains!
The experience of a honeymoon period in Egypt however is quite a differential experience. For a whole month after the wedding, the family of the bride does all the cooking for the newly weds so that the couple can relax and romance. That indeed what honeymoon sounds like ideally!
What are weddings without wedding cakes? Nothing we say! And when it’s a tiered cake, it only is better. A very prevalent custom of marriages, tiered cakes came into the scene as a game, where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over as high a tiered cake as possible without flipping it over!
As integral as brides and grooms (and cakes!) are to weddings, no less integral are the best man and the bridesmaids. And just like the tiered cake, the best man also has an interesting history to the origin. Again a Scottish reference, the term best man applied to that friend of the groom among many of his who ‘excelled’ at kidnapping their future brides!
Best men comes not just with traditions but also with interesting records. While a Malaysian man holds the record for being the best man at over 1000 weddings, yet another Irish best man Albert Muldoon almost took oath as the husband of the bride after quite some goof up!
But the most weird of all best man anecdotes needs to be the one where the bride discovered her to be groom donning her wedding dress and locked in a passionate embrace with the best man on the night before the wedding! Needless to say, it remains embedded in history as a marriage to be and not one that did.
Even when inter caste and inter race marriages are not too celebratory of a pursuit in certain parts of the world, not to speak of same sex marriage, it’s indeed weird that there have been marriages where the partner wasn’t a human at all! While there have been human and cat marriages, a human and dolphin one and other such bizarre ones, a lady named Jannene Swift took it to a different level altogether when she got married to an inanimate object- a 50lb rock- in 1976!
No chronicle of love and marriages would be complete without the mention of a Casanova to further the romance. And with so much love to offer to so many of his lovers, Casanova sure comes with really entertaining tales of his own. Of particular interest is one of his many girlfriends Leonilda whose hand he sought for marriage. However Leonilda’s mother screamed and fainted at the mere mention of Casanova because not only had he been one of her past lovers but he also was even the father of Leonilda!
Ever wondered that the very marital connotation of tying the knot could have a literal basis as well? This one stems from a pre- Biblical tradition of actually having the bride and groom’s hands tie together to signify that they would be together for a year. The tradition also allowed for renewal of that commitment after one year- either for another year or for life!