So, anybody planning their wedding today? Hoping to be a June bride? A Christmas bride? Ever wonder why June weddings are so popular? Blame it on the Romans. It sometimes seems as if we can blame the Romans for every ritual or tradition or celebration we have. Just goes to show the real importance of an empire lies in what it leaves its unknowing inheritors. The Romans favored June weddings because that was the month dedicated to the observance of Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. There was a practical side to June weddings as well, and practicality also shows up quite a bit in rituals and traditions. A marriage in June could result in a conception early enough so that a wife wouldn’t be too full with child to not be able to help out during the harvest. A June wedding also meant that the baby would be born soon enough so that the recovered bride would be in shape for the next harvest pending no unexpected second bundle. So, when considering your wedding plans and how romantic a June wedding may seem, keep in mind that the real concern at the center of that tradition is getting the most out of you before you become pregnant and useless!
Interestingly, harvest time plays a role in wedding traditions around the world. In almost every part of Europe, even today weddings are traditionally heavier in the summer than in the fall. The reason used to be that so many women were needed to help pull in those crops, but you know how rituals are; like Shirley Jackson’s lottery most people don’t care to question the contemporary validity based on the original necessity and just blindly follow along. From high up in the Alps to the lush green valleys of the Emerald Isle, young couples are still juggling theirs and others’ schedules in order to fit in a wedding before the fall arrives. Not that this tradition is endemic to only Europe. Most Chinese weddings observe the custom of pre-harvest celebration as well.
One wedding tradition that seems to have fallen out of favor over time is matching the wedding to the appearance of a full moon. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans believed the moon controlled future fertility and therefore they were especially prone to getting married under a full moon. Although not as well played out by the wedding industry as the June wedding, the idea of letting the moon guide your wedding destiny is still practiced among some cultures in Germany and Scotland among other places.
There have been some pretty interesting superstitions concerning specific days of the week or year on which to either get or avoid getting married. Most weddings nowadays take place on a Saturday because of convenience, but for most of Christian history a Saturday wedding was viewed as a bad sign, often resulting in an early exist for one member of the happy couple. On the other hand, on old Italian superstition has it that a union performed on a Monday was a sure route to having feeble offspring. And as for a Christmas wedding, make sure it takes place close to Christmas Day; if you peer back into European history you will find precious few weddings that took place on December 28. That was considered a mighty unlucky day for a wedding because it was believed to be the day that Herod had all the children of Judea slaughtered in an attempt to ward off the arrival of Jesus Christ.