Wedding Traditions Around the World

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Course Description

Have you ever wondered what weddings are like in other cultures? Perhaps you're planning a wedding of your own and want to incorporate some of your own cultural or religious traditions, but don't know where to begin. Maybe you've been invited to a traditional, culture- or religion-specific wedding and want to ensure you understand the ceremony and etiquette, or are searching for unique ideas for your own ceremony.

You can perform your own internet searches, but with the vast amount of information out there – much of which does not agree or coincide – it could take hours to research it all, and may end in frustration or confusion.

This course will introduce you to many wedding traditions around the world, including courtship, engagement, pre-wedding requirements and rituals, the actual wedding ceremony, and wedding attire. Among the many topics covered in this course, we'll explore wedding traditions from Asian, European, and African cultures as well as western traditions and influences, unusual weddings, and the costs involved in hosting a wedding. In our final lesson, we'll also discuss the multi-billion dollar bridal industry, which includes diamond engagement rings.

This course provides an excellent overview of a wide variety of wedding customs and traditions around the world, together in fourteen lessons. Whether needing personal information or looking for a course on wedding traditions for professional reasons, you're sure to find "Weddings around the World" interesting and helpful.

Course Requirements

This course is for everyone!

Course Topics


I.                Lesson 1 – Intro to course, foundation of subject

a.     Basic history and definition of “marriage” and “wedding”

b.     Brief overview of current common worldwide traditions

c.     Common phrases and traditions tied to weddings - meanings and origins

                                          i.     “Something old, something new . . .” etc.

d.     A brief history of western/American wedding traditions and their origins

                                          i.     Engagement ring (brief – we’ll go over this more in a later lesson)

                                         ii.     White dress

                                       iii.     “The send-off” (how guests and family send the couple off for their (supposedly) first sexual encounter – note: we will explore this idea as part of each culture’s traditions, as the “send-off” seems to be a fairly common part of the wedding experience.)

e.     Canada/French Canadian

II.              Lesson 2 – Ancient customs around the world

a.     The specifics of this lesson will be detailed as my research continues

b.     This will be an overview with information on what traditions came out of ancient trads, what traditions survived intact, modern “morphing” of ancient traditions, etc.

III.            Lesson 3 – Unique modern ceremonies

a.     This will probably include info on Wicca/Pagan ceremonies, ceremonies of indigenous peoples, voodoo ceremonies, Cajun, Cuban, etc. (depends on what fits with the category)

IV.            Lesson 4 – Weddings in Asian cultures

a.     China (proper)

b.     Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Laos, etc.

c.     Singapore

d.     Japan

V.              Lesson 5 – Weddings in Island cultures

a.     Malaysia

b.     Polynesia/Hawaii

c.     Jamaica

d.     Cuba

e.     Indonesia

f.      The Philippines

g.     Samoa

h.     Others I may encounter during research

VI.            Lesson 6 – “lands down under” (and other unique places)

a.     Australia

b.     New Zealand

c.     Iceland

d.     Greenland

VII.          Lesson 7 – Weddings in South American cultures and Mexico

a.     Mexico

b.     Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, etc.

VIII.        Lesson 8 – Weddings in cultures of “romance languages”

a.     France

b.     Italy

c.     Portugal

d.     Spain

e.     Romania

IX.            Lesson 9 – Wedding traditions in other parts of Europe

a.     Scotland, Ireland, and the UK

b.     Czechoslovakia and other Slavic cultures

c.     Russia

d.     Austria

e.     Poland

f.      Sweden

g.     Finland

h.     Norway

i.       Germany

j.       Wales

X.              Lesson 10 – Wedding tradition in African cultures

a.     Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, etc.

b.     Morocco

XI.            Lesson 11 – Religious and Orthodox Wedding Ceremonies

a.     Orthodox Russian

b.     Orthodox and non-orthodox Jewish ceremonies

c.     Muslim

d.     Christian (Catholic in particular)

e.     Others I may encounter during research

XII.          Lesson 12 – Weddings of East Indian cultures

a.     India

b.     Iran

c.     Iraq

d.     Pakistan

e.     others

XIII.        Lesson 13 – Traditions of Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Libya

XIV.        Lesson 14 – The modern side of weddings – the good, the bad, and the expensive

a.     Western wedding traditions and their effects on the worldwide perception of weddings

                                          i.     Western wedding traditions are the most common modern “wedding” reference – why?

                                         ii.     The engagement ring – the story of DeBeers and their manipulation of the diamond trade (“an engagement ring should equal two month’s salary” and other fallacies)

                                       iii.     The bridal industry

1.     Magazines

2.     Stores

3.     Bridesmaids dresses

4.     Public perceptions

5.     Media influence

                                       iv.     The lighter side of modern weddings

1.     More freedom of personal expression

2.     Non-traditional ceremonies, both beautiful and bizarre

3.     Location, location, location!

4.     Combining the old with the new

Course Materials

All course materials is provided in this class. There is no need to buy additional resources

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a written assignment.

A brief 25 pt. quiz will follow each lesson. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe common wedding traditions.
  • Describe Wedding Traditions of American, Native American, Pennsylvania Dutch, Amish, and French-Canadian Cultures.
  • Describe Wedding Customs in Indian Cultures.
  • Describe Weddings in Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, and Greenland.
  • Describe Weddings in South American Cultures and Mexico.
  • Describe Weddings in Asian Cultures.
  • Describe Weddings in Cultures of Romance Languages.
  • Describe traditions of Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Libya, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Exam 112
Exam 211
Exam 310
Exam 413
Exam 514
Exam 610
Exam 710
Exam 811
Exam 99
Exam 1011
Exam 1112
Exam 1212
Exam 137
Exam 1412
The Final Exam87
Total Points:241

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