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Jewish Wedding Traditions

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Authored by Jody Morse in Wedding
Published on 08-06-2009

Over the years, many couples have chosen to break away from wedding traditions that cultures and religions have practiced for years. If you are interested in having a traditional Jewish wedding, you may be wondering what customs are traditionally practiced by this religion. Here are some of the different Jewish wedding traditions that the bride, who is referred to as the kallah, and the groom, who is referred to as the chatan, should know about.

Attire

Wedding attire plays an essential role in any wedding. You may be wondering how much the attire that is typically worn during a Jewish wedding differs from that worn during a traditional Christian wedding. Just like rest of modern society, most Jewish brides wear white wedding dresses with veils. There are some countries and specific cultures, such as the Asian culture, in which the bride will wear a more colorful dress. A Jewish groom will wear a tallit and often a kittel, which is a white garment that gets worn over the tallit.

Ketuba

The Jewish bride and groom will sign a marriage document called the Ketuba. In the past, the Ketuba held a lot of legal precedence in many countries where Judaism was practiced. In this marriage contract, the responsibilities of the groom were laid out on paper. These responsibilities generally consisted of a form of life insurance or divorce dowry. While the Ketuba is still signed by both the bride and groom in front of two witnesses, it is generally viewed as nothing more than an additional marriage contract nowadays. Many Jewish couples do choose to honor it, however. The Ketuba was traditionally written in Aramaic, but is it often translated into English as well.

Chupah

A Jewish wedding ceremony takes place under a Chupah. A Chupah consists of four poles which hold up a canopy. Some Jewish couples make the decision to decorate the Chupah that they get married under, while others choose to leave it entirely plain. This is entirely up to the Jewish couple who is getting married. It is beneath this canopy where the Jewish couple will be betrothed and recite a blessing over a cup of wine that they will drink.

Breaking of Glass

Probably the most well known Jewish wedding tradition is the breaking of glass. To end the wedding ceremony, the groom will smash a glass with his foot. Nowadays, it is very common for the bride to take part in the smashing as well. To wish the bride and groom good luck, the guests will yell “Mazel tov.”

These are just a few of the most well known Jewish wedding traditions. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that there are other traditions which are commonly practiced by those who follow the Jewish religion. Also do not forget about specific family traditions that may apply to you when planning your wedding. While many people think that there are certain wedding traditions that Jewish or Christian, wedding traditions are often passed from one generation to another.

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