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Wedding Traditions: Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

This one has several origins, none of them particularly pleasant.  While investigating its origin around 100 AD, Plutarch postulated three different possibilities, all fairly demeaning to women:

Rape, Take One:  The act of picking up the bride was a symbolic re-enactment of the Rape of the Sabines. The Sabines were an ancient people in Latium before Rome was founded; when the Romans came, they raped Sabine women in order to expand their population.  (Recent studies show the alleged rapes were less likely, but it was certainly believed for a long time.)

Rape, Take Two:  It symbolized the bride's reluctance to surrender her virginity, which she finally did after the wedding ceremony... when she had no choice.

Marital Faithfulness:  Having been carried into the house by her husband, she would only leave it the same way. This was in the spirit of a male-dominated culture when a woman was only to leave the house alone when she was so old that people would no longer ask whose wife she was... but whose mother.

There are other ideas behind this:

Evil Foot Demons. It prevented evil spirits from entering the bride through her feet. Huh?! Was she normally barefoot? Or did the spirits enter through her shoes? If so, why was the groom immune? And he had to set her down SOMETIME. Did evil spirits hang out in the bedroom in particular, or just in the doorway? Was the husband planning to carry her everywhere? What if she got up in the night to use the bathroom? What if he were not at home and she had to check the mail? Did she climb the walls and walk across the ceiling?

Yet once again, this is a tradition we plan to embrace.  Mostly, it's fun and will keep us giggling about it every time we remember it for years to come.  Also, we briefly considered bucking the origins by letting Elaine carry David across the threshold... but given that we'd both likely end up in the hospital if we tried, we've decided not to. So David will do the carrying.


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