Polish Wedding Traditions
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Traditional Rebraiding of the Polish Bride's Hair
In Poland, a single girl wears her hear in a single braid. The night before her wedding, her mother and female relatives redo her braids from one to two. This is a traditional wedding hair style that symbolizes the new step the bride-to-be is taking into marriage.
An important feature of Polish weddings is the sharing of bread, salt and wine. The newly married couple will be presented with rye bread that has been lightly sprinkled with salt, as well as a glass of wine by their parents. The bread symbolizes the hope that the couple will never go hungry. The salt is a reminder that while life is difficult, they will learn to cope. The wine is a symbol of desire that the couple will never go thirsty, and the combination of all three is a wish that their lives will be filled with health and happiness.
The Polish Wedding Reception
The Oczepiny Ceremony: Traditionally done as the bride enters the reception, it is the removal of the bridal veil, which signifies the end of the bride's maidenhood and her transition into a married woman. A funny hat is placed on the grooms head. It represents a wish that the marriage will be full of happiness and laughter.
At the reception, if the bride does not spill a drop from her traditional glass of wine, it is considered a sign of luck.
The Money Dance
In Poland, a "money dance" is a tradition practiced at the reception. This is usually not held until the guests have eaten and the other ceremonies have been performed. The guests will either pin money to the wedding dress, or the Maid of Honor will wear an apron to collect the money, to "buy a dance from her. These gifts of money are usually used by the couple towards their honeymoon expenses.
After all who want to dance with the bride have danced with her, a tight circle is formed around her, and the groom then tries to break through the circle, while the guests try to keep him out. Once he has broken through, he picks up his bride and carries her away from the wedding reception to start their new life together.
In a variation of the "money dance,"" the bride will dance with her father while a relative holds out an apron. The guests who place money in the apron will win an opportunity to dance with the bride. After most or all of the guests (can be both men and women) have danced with the bride, the groom will throw in his wallet, which surpasses all the other contributions. He will then escape with his bride to their honeymoon.
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