The tradition of gifting the bride and groom with precious family gifts to start their new lives, bestowing pearls of wisdom (wanted and unwanted), and practical household items to care for their new family is an integral part of the matrimonial experience. These gifts are filled with meaning and care for the new couple.
All come with blessings of love and happiness, health and prosperity.
In many cultures gifting the new couple with a wedding blanket is a tradition passed down through centuries. Mothers, sisters and aunties stitching their warmth, care and love into the future life of the newly weds.
Family and generational connections, old wives tales, charms for luck, ribbons and fine needle work are the hallmarks of a traditional wedding blanket.
The Native American Blanket Ceremony
A couple is wrapped in a blanket and then kiss while wrapped up. Traditionally, both bride and groom are wrapped in separate, blue blankets by the officiant. Then the officiant gives his blessing and then removes the blankets. The couple is then wrapped in a single white blanket. The blue represents their past, single live, and the white represents their new life which will be filled with peace and happiness. The white blanket is kept by the couple and displayed in their home.
Moroccan Wedding Blankets
‘Handira’ in Arabic, ‘Tamizart’ or in Morrocan. The white/cream coloured Handira is woven for weddings, often decorated with countless metal sequins (mouzouns in Arabic). In some areas mothers will begin to weave a wedding blanket when her daughter is still very young. The girl grows up getting familiar with her wedding blanket as part of her dowry and her duties as a married woman. In other regions the female relative gather to attach those hundreds of mirrored sequins once the weaving is complete; it is thought that during this collaborative task, the bride’s relatives teach her all about the birds and the bees, among other marital duties and expectations.
Moroccan wedding blankets are woven in natural undyed wool and cotton, often decorated with woven pattern bands of very pretty and colourful talismanic symbols. For Berbers, objects and visual motifs contain myriad meanings and purposes. The process of hand-weaving, itself, when undertaken mindfully, is thought to endow the textile with baraka, or blessings.
When complete, the wedding blanket serves not only as warmth and decoration for the bride, but also to ward off evil and to bestow fertility and good luck upon the newlyweds. After the wedding ceremony, the bride wears the blanket tied around her neck as a kind of cape.
A 'Rushnyk' or 'Nabozhnyk' is a ritual cloth embroidered with symbols and cryptograms. They have been used in sacred Eastern Slavic rituals, religious services and ceremonial events such as weddings and funerals. Each region has its own designs and patterns with hidden meaning, passed down from generation to generation.
Rushnyk took its name from a word “ruka”, which means “hand”. According to another version, «rushnyk» comes from the verb «rushaty», which means «to start going your way». region has their own motifs and preferred colour.
The tradition to put embroidered symbols on a towel dates back to ancient times. First rushnyks were used in ritual purpose. They contained information about the aim and sequence of ritual action. It was like first alphabet. Time passed, and new historical events were reflected in towel’s ornament.
During a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are standing on a Rushnyk called a pidnozhnyk, which translates as step-on towel. What happens to the pidnozhnyk is that the bride will drag the towel behind her, and her bridesmaids follow behind her. Tradition has it that when the bridesmaids follow behind the pidnozhnyk, they are following the path of the bride and hopefully be married.during wedding ceremony, the young couple has to stand on a towel, when they are declared to become a family. It is like entering into a new life together. The wife has to take this towel at home and to keep it for the rest of her life. Groom’s parents congratulate the newlyweds with ritual bread “korovai”, and, of course, it is placed on a rushnyk.
Amish 'Sunday Best' quilt
The women of an Amish community will begin making special quilts for the newlyweds when the wedding ceremony is announced. The bride's mother will often make a very special Amish quilt for the bride to take to her new home. This special quilt is often called a 'Sunday Best' quilt and will only be used or displayed in the bride's new home on special occasions. This is because the bride's family will put such care and detail into this special Amish quilt that it is seen as more of an expression of the love the family has for the bride rather than something that is to be used every day.
Depending on her needlework skills, the brides mother might also make a comforter for the couples new home as well as additional quilts.
Another Amish family tradition consists of the bride's grandmother piecing together a quilt, but not finishing it, so the bride can complete it herself. This symbolises the fact that the bride is now the head of her own household and the passing down of family traditions for her to now pass on to her daughters and granddaughters.
Young Amish girls prepare for their future family life by saving items in a hope chest. The father will make a cedar hope chest for his daughter for them to store away items in preparation for their wedding day. This may include treasured family linens, other handmade Amish quilts, or other gifts that have been given over the years, such as at Christmastime, and saved in the hope chest for the day she will become a wife.
These traditions help keep the Amish as unified today as they have been for generations. From the tradition of the dowry, to the making of special Amish quilts, to the unity that is felt by the whole community as new couples commit their lives together, these traditions are the glue that keep the Amish strong.
What are some of the traditions in your culture? or your family?
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Product: The Australian Wedding Blanket
Start a unique family tradition with the gift of a handcrafted wedding blanket. Each of our wedding blankets have a traditional story of love and life woven in each stitch. It begins with two souls side by side, promising their love and devotion...
Product: The Wedding Blanket
Lush chunky knit stitches of love to celebrate the promise of eternal love. The Wedding blanket is designed as a practical keepsake, a gift from the family to keep the couple warm, covered by love, made from pure simple materials using traditional methods and design.