Wedding Customs in Oceania
Oceania primarily refers to Australia and New Zealand, two of the most remote countries in the world, yet two of the most exciting and vibrant countries on earth as well. Both New Zealand and Australia are members of the British Commonwealth and so they have borrowed many of their wedding traditions from Great Britain – although they have been flavored by the traditions of the native populations of both nations.
In Australia a wedding keepsake bible is handed down from generation to generation.
The white wedding dress has been traditional in Australia for many centuries and is still popular today, symbolizing hope and joy for the future. It is traditional in Australia to give the bride a groom a keepsake bible as a wedding gift. Marriage bibles are treasured family heirlooms and are often passed down from generation to generation.
Traditionally Australian weddings include all members of the bride’s as well as the groom’s families. Family squabbles and differences are traditionally set aside on this special day so that the newlyweds can be blessed with a happy and joyous start along the road of their new lives together.
Most Australian wedding traditions have been borrowed from England, but it is also common for Scottish and Irish wedding ceremonies to be performed in Australia, and many ceremonies are also flavored with Aboriginal customs. One thing that never changes, however, is the exchange of rings at the conclusion of the ceremony. The wedding ring, a perfect circle with no beginning and no ending, symbolizes never-ending love in Australia just as it does in most of the rest of the world.
An Australian wedding reception is apt to feature a wide range of music, everything from traditional English and American music to bagpipes and even the haunting melody of the Aboriginal didgeridoo.
In New Zealand it is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.
The wedding tradition in New Zealand calls for a lavish church wedding, a white-gowned bride and all the bridesmaids. The groom wears dark pants and a white shirt and dark coat and he is flanked by his best man and his groomsmen. It is considered bad luck for the groom to see his bride on the day of the wedding before she walks down the aisle.
An additional aspect of a New Zealand wedding is the incorporation of traditional Maori wedding customs. The Maori are the native people of New Zealand and their customs and traditions are held in high esteem by many New Zealanders.
Maori wedding traditions are often incorporated into the New Zealand wedding ceremony.
Maori wedding tradition includes the ceremonial Powhiri welcome to the bride and the groom, and may include the traditional warrior challenge. Often a New Zealand wedding is conducted by a Maori tribal elder and at the conclusion of the ceremony the couple is blessed in the Maori language.
And no Maori-flavored Oceania wedding would be complete without the “infinity loops” placed around the necks of the bride and the groom, symbolizing never-ending love.
It doesn’t matter if you are at the top of the world or if you are in the very heart of the land down under, weddings bring out the best in everyone and call for joyous celebration the world over. In Oceania the traditions are a beautiful mix of the new with the ancient, creating a wedding experience that is unique to this very special corner of the world down under.