Norwegian Wedding Traditions: Past to Present
Sunday, February 12, 2012 1:03:18 PM
This is the second in a series of blog posts about wedding traditions and customs in Norway. Last time I looked at the way hens and bucks nights are celebrated in Norway, and this edition we take a brief look at older wedding traditions in Norway.
When I first began researching what happens at weddings in Norway, I made the mistake of Googling with the search term 'Norwegian wedding traditions'; so of course instead of finding out what takes place at contemporary weddings, I was inundated with results about customs from previous centuries, and I thought that would make an interesting post in and of itself.
Many of the traditions are based on warding away evil spirits that seek to interfere with the wedding or the happiness of the marriage. Apparently, the bride would wear a delicate crown of silver or gold as a symbol of innocence, and dangling from the crown would be small silver trinkets (often spoon-shaped) that would tinkle as the bride moved. The belief was that the sound would scare away evil spirits. (I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be because the beautiful tinkling melody is enraging to demons or just the sheer noise. ) This tradition was common in all Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe, with the crowns passed down through families.
To confuse evil spirits, so that they would not know whose happiness to destroy, the bridesmaids would be dressed similarly to the bride. This website has much detailed background about costume traditions for Norwegian weddings. Like many other countries in pre-Victorian times, it was most common for brides to wear black on their wedding days.
After the wedding, the bridesmaid and best man (or other friends and family) would plant two small fir or pine trees on either side of the door to the newlyweds' home as a symbol of fertility.
Until Next Time
Join me next blog post as we jump back to the future and look at wedding customs in modern times.