Japanese Ceremony History

A Japanese couple’s marriage ceremony is a significant milestone in their relationship. In the past it was arranged by their relatives, but now it is mostly chosen by the few themselves.

In the case of traditional Shinto ceremonies (, shinzen shiki), which account for around one in six marriages, a priest is in charge and the ceremony takes place at a shrine. The couple dresses in bridal kimonos and the bride wears a white headdress called a wataboshi that acts as a wedding veil. After the ceremony, the couple offers branches from a sacred tree and drinks sake.

During the welcome, the couple gives modest, beautiful presents to their guests called hikidemono. Often they give chopsticks, cutlery, folding fans and sake cups. Additionally, they request that their customers include their desires in a particular book, Kodomo no ti, which contains the newlywed couple’s wishes. Gift funds, called goshugi, is commonly given in attractive packets called shugibukuro and usually amounts to Y=30, 000 or more. This amount is meant to represent the child’s forthcoming success.

Some people have adopted other elements of Western weddings, such as the traditional walk down the aisle, tossing the bridal flowers, and sharing their second pie bite. A couple’s getaway can also be held in a foreign location that they choose on their own. This is especially true for the younger generation, who have been taught a variety of European customs in their classrooms.

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