Jew Wedding: here is everything you need to know
Jewish wedding ceremonies end with a loud bang- by crushing of a glass. A Jewish wedding is rich in Jewish laws and traditions and has several ceremonies installed in it. These include the ketubah or marriage contract, a canopy known as chuppah and the breaking of a glass. Here’s a look at all the traditions that make Jewish weddings grand affairs.
Stages of a Jew Wedding
Technically, Jew wedding has two stages; the Kiddushin or dedication, which works like a betrothal and the nissuin. The first stage makes the woman exclusive to one man and prevents her from being available to other men. As per Jewish traditions, after this stage, if a woman is to go for other men, she must first acquire a religious divorce. The second stage, in turn, binds the couple to each other through the chuppah ceremony.
Nowadays, the Kiddushin occurs through a ring exchange. The chuppah ceremony includes standing under the canopy and then spending time alone in a room called yichud. In the past, these two events happened a year apart, but recently, they are a part of the same ceremony.
Before the actual wedding ceremony, the groom signs a marriage contract called the ketubah. This happens in the presence of two witnesses, who also sign the contract. The ketubah contains details regarding all the obligations the groom has towards the bride and is a legally binding agreement. Many Jewish homes also displayed this agreement. During the chuppah, while the couple stands under the canopy, the ketubah is read aloud in Aramaic.
The ceremony itself occurs under a wedding canopy called Chuppah. This bridal canopy symbolises the new home the couple will build later in their life. Most brides cover their face with a veil, through a process called Badeken. However, Sephardi Jews do not have such a custom. The veil represents how marriage is a union of souls and not merely based on external beauty. The bride is usually escorted by both mothers, while the groom is escorted by both fathers.
During the ceremony, the bride walks around the groom either three or seven times. The three circles represent righteousness, justice and kindness, while seven circuits have Biblical references to it, as it denotes perfection or completeness. Afterwards, the couple is blessed over wine, which the couple then drink. This is followed by the ring exchange.
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Why do jews Break the glass
Following the ring exchange, as per Jewish tradition, the groom breaks a glass by crushing it with his right foot. When he does so, all the guests shout Mazel tov! Contemporary weddings crush lightbulbs in place of glasses. While the exact reason for doing so is not known, people believe it symbolises how joy must always be tempered. Secondly, it serves as mourning for the destruction of their Temple in Jerusalem. While traditionally, the groom did the deed; nowadays, the couple shares the honour by crushing two napkin-wrapped glasses. Soon after the orchestra plays wedding music, and everyone starts singing and dancing.
The breaking of the glass, also symbolises the irreversibility of marriage. Hence, all the celebration begins only after the breaks that glass. Once the glass breaks, the marriage is sealed and the couple are bound together. Hence, the breaking represents the moment, the groom and bride become husband and wife.
Following the breaking of the glass, the couple goes to a room and is left alone for around 20 minutes. The room may be a rabbi’s study or even a synagogue classroom. Dancing is also a major part of the ceremony, and some of the famous traditional dances are the Krenzl, Mizinke and the Horah.
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As we can see, Jewish weddings are full of rich traditions that speak volumes of Jewish culture. The breaking of the glass is symbolic of all the suffering they have endured as a community. It is amazing that even during heights of personal joy, they remember and mourn for their ancestors.