Monday, February 8, 2010

Italian Wedding Traditions - Luck and Love

An Italian wedding day starts out early with a wedding mass and lasts into the evening with eating, dancing and drinking.  Luck or the lack of it, and warding off bad luck or evil is a big part of Italian wedding traditions.  Weddings on Sunday are considered the luckiest, and rain is a sign of good luck for an Italian bride.  There is an Italian proverb that says: “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunate.”  Wearing green the night before the wedding is considered to bring luck to the newly married couple.  Traditionally the bride wore a veil to protect and hide her from jealous spirits, and tearing the brides veil slightly was considered good luck, while the groom carried a piece of iron in his pocket, known as Toc Ferro, to ward off the evil eye.  It was bad luck for the bride to wear gold before or during her wedding.  All the men at the wedding may kiss the bride for good luck.  In southern Italy at the end of the wedding it is customary to break a vase or glass.  The number of pieces it shatters into are believed to be the number of years the couple would be married happily.  Another custom that is carried through to today is the wedding favor called 'confetti' or "bomboniera."  Confetti fiori were developed in the 16th century by nuns of the Santa Chirara convent in Sulmona. Sugared almonds, which were already being given out on special occasions in bundles of five for good luck, were fashioned into flowers with the five petals signifying health, happiness, prosperity, fertility, and a long life. For good luck the favor should have either five or seven confetti in it.  In ancient Rome, a loaf of wheat bread was broken over the heads of the bride and groom to ensure a fertile and fulfilling life. Guests would eat the crumbs for good luck. Symbolic foods for good luck include twists of fried dough, powdered with sugar, called bow ties wanda, and Italian wedding candy.  As you can see, Italian weddings are rich in traditions to ensure the happiness of the couple, consider choosing a few to use for your wedding day.