JEWISH WEDDING TRADITIONS : WHAT TO KNOW
When we talk about Jewish culture is important to know a little bit about their background, they have a history longer than four thousand years and it was born in the ancient Israel. The Judaism is not only a matter of beliefs but also it includes the practice turning it into not only a religion but an orthopraxy. In this article you will find aspects of the culture like traditions and symbols, taking in consideration that the Jewish culture has been having a huge expansion lately.
As ancient as the Judaism is, the fact of keep in touch with the symbols and traditions is something extremely important. As we know the Jewish people counts with one of the most interesting and amazing cultures and traditions nowadays, most of all for thanks to the fact of their loyalty to their origins and ancestors, the family value is something very important in the Jewish community. When we mention some of their most common celebrations we can easily find the Hanukkah, Bar Mitzvah and the Jewish wedding ceremony.
The most important aspect in the Jewish religion according to celebrations is the wedding ceremony. When we go back in time we can notice how important is the family in the Jewish culture, this is because the family has been the spiritual strength of the Jewish people during ages. It is the basic and central institution of Jewish life. Synagogue, takes a secondary place in relation with family. Judaism can survive without the Synagogue, but never without the family.
Jewish marriage is not only the formalization of a relationship, it is so much more than a vague union but a meeting of these two souls in such an unique way that is , which finally come together again, after being in separated at the beginning of your life. In Hebrew the marriage ceremony is called Kiddushin: consecration; a sanctified act and a divine commandment, in which we can see the reflection of a life dedicated to spiritual values and ideals.
When it comes to a traditional Jewish wedding the celebration it must be full of meaningful rituals symbolizing the beauty of the relationship between husband and wife as a whole one, also it shows the obligations to each other and to the Jewish people. In this article you will be travel with us in the experience of showing the beauty and joy of the Jewish wedding traditions as well as the meaning involving their pairs among the Jewish community.
Also remember you won´t be alone in this journey, we will be joining you in every step, through each important stage in your wedding, making everything just the most beautiful memory for all your guests and for you. Now bellow you can find a list of all the topics related to this article and it will make you fall from head to toes to the love given by the Jewish culture.
The wedding day
This is the happiest day in a bride’s life, it will make you fell whole, beautiful, and perfect, this is the moment where everything begins and takes shape. In this day you as a bride will be giving a moment to forgive all the mistakes made in the past, and this way the two souls will be joining and emerging as a full one complete soul.
As the Hebrew language is a huge part of the ceremony and the culture is important t know that the groom is known as Jatán and the bride as Kalá; and this important day of forgiveness and joining is known as Yom Kippur. We must add that during this day the bride and the groom will fast during the whole day from the very early morning until they finish the conclusion of the wedding ceremony. In this ceremony the groom wears a traditional outfit called kitel and this one is the white traditional robe, only for this day.
In the week before the wedding, the groom and bride won’t face each other; it’s completely out of discussion the idea of meeting in any time. This separation is made to increase the expectation and excitement which is building up as days go by. Just right in the moment that the ceremony begins the Jatán (groom) and the Kalá (bride) will great happily the guests but totally away from each other. This is what we call “Kabalat Panim”.
This Jewish tradition makes the couple feel like a queen and a king, this way making an amazing moment for both of them. The bride takes a sit in a “Throne” and this way she is ready to receive and greet their guests, while on the other hand the groom is surrounded by their guests who will perform a song and will cheer with him. After this moment the groom’s mother and the bride will break a plate, this is to show the seriousness of the commitment. As the plait which can be put together and tried to be repaired the relationship that suffers from a break won’t be able to be completely repaired.
In this part of the route the groom will cover the face of the bride with the veil, here the veil is a symbol of the modesty, takes the idea that it doesn’t matter the fact of having physical beauty if the soul and character are not on top of that; the veil will show hoe superior is the soul, character and personality of a woman in from of the appearance. The groom along with family and friends will approach to the bride’s sit and cover her face with her veil. This beautiful and touching moment is an ancient tradition where the groom shows how important is his bride making the commitment to dress and protect his wife.
The place where the wedding takes place is called the Chuppah. The Chuppa is a canopy in which the Jewish couple will stand during the wedding ceremony. This symbols the house that they will build together, as a couple. It has the characteristics of being open on all sides, this is a representation of Abraham and Sarah’s shop where they would receive friends and family with unconditional hospitality.
The Chuppah is celebrated outside, under the sky and stars, which represents the blessing given by God to the patriarch Abraham. The groom and bride don’t wear any jewelry when they are under the Chuppah; this represents their commitment as something that doesn’t involve the material possession but the union as humans.
The parents of the couple will join them on their way to the Chuppah, the bride will go around the groom seven times while they are under the Chuppah, as a symbol of the world was built in seven days, figuratively the Kalá is building the walls of the new world of the couple. The number seven has a huge importance in the Jewish culture, it symbolize the wholeness and integrity that can not be achieved when they are apart. After that the bride takes place standing next to the right of the groom.
Blessings of commitment (Kiddushin)
For the next step of the ceremony, there will be needed two glasses of wine; the first cup will be joining with the blessing of commitment. After they recited, the couple drinks from the cup. Wine is a symbol of joy in Jewish tradition and is associated with the Kiddush, the prayer of sanctity recited on Sabbath and the holidays. The marriage also known as Kiddushin, is the sanctification of a man and a woman in the moment of being together.
In Jewish culture and laws the marriage will be something official in the moment when the groom gives an object of value to the bride. This act is done, traditionally, with a ring made out of pure gold; it must not have any stains or ornamentation like diamonds or gems. Just as their marriage the ring is expected to have the most simple beauty standards, giving a feeling of humbleness and grace.
The groom will take the wedding ring on his hand and with the presence of two witnesses, he declares to his wife, “Now you are committed to me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel”. After that the groom places the ring on the forefinger of the bride’s right hand. According to Jewish law and traditions, this is the central moment of the wedding ceremony, and the couple is now officially married.
Ketubah (Marriage contract)
The next step in the celebration is the reading of the ketubah (the marriage contract) in the original text written in Aramaic. In a Jewish marriage the groom will take different responsibilities that are explained in the ketubah. The man’s duties are several as to provide with food, home and clothing for his wife, and to be attentive to her feelings and her emotional needs, as a reminder that not only the material aspect is important, but also the spiritual one.
For the protection of the well-being of the Jewish woman rights, the marriage can not be officially completed until the contract is finally done. The document is signed by two witnesses, and it has the power of a legally binding agreement. The Ketubah will be in possession of the bride and she must have access to the document throughout her entire marriage.
The seven blessings
The seven blessings also known as Sheva Brachot are recited with the second cup of wine. These blessings are the way to link the groom and the bride to the faith in God as the creator of the world, the one who gives joy and love, and the redeemer of the Jewish people. These blessings are said by the rabbi or any other person that the families wish to honor. At the end of the seven blessings, the couple will drink one more time a little bit of wine from the cup.
Breaking the cup
In this part of the ceremony a cup will be placed on the ground, and the groom breaks it with his foot. This is a symbol of sadness felt during the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and identifies the couple with the spiritual and national destiny of the Jewish people. The Jewish community even at the moment of greatest happiness in their life is always completely aware of the psalmist’s request to “establish Jerusalem above my highest joy” this meaning how important are their roots for them. This marks the end of the Jewish wedding ceremony, finally with everybody shouting the most known phrase all over the world to congratulate in the Jewish culture “Mazel Tov”.
After the ceremony the Yijud will be taken place this is when the couple is escorted to a private room, and left alone for a few minutes. These moments are a manifest their new condition, which is living together as husband and wife. The couple has been fasting since the morning, so it’s the moment to finish with their fast.
The banquet (Seudá)
Finally we reach the last step in the celebration, the banquet during which there is a lot of music and dancing to celebrate with the new couple. In order to bring joy to the occasion, some guests start performing feats of juggling and acrobatics. After the meal, the Birkat Hamazon (the blessing for after the meal) is recited, and the Sheva Brachot (The seven blessings) are said one more time.
During the week following the wedding, it’s usual for friends and family to prepare banquets in honor of the couple. This is called the Sheva Brachot Week, because of the blessings said at the end of each one of these banquets. This way the Jewish wedding ceremony is completed.
A Jewish ceremony is something completely unique and so attractive that is impossible for Jewish couple’s not to do it properly, even couples out of the Jewish culture can feel attracted because of how meaningful can be, the commitment represented and their way to take the marriage as something beyond the physical and legal union.
That is why when it comes to a Jewish wedding ceremony the best is to have a prepared planner to help the couple to organize every detail of their wedding. If you are having a Jewish wedding ceremony and you need help, you know to whom contact to have the most special ceremony without having any stress. We will have everything under control and this way you will be able just to enjoy the ceremony with no worries, just giving your best at each step through out the ceremony.