Indigenous Wedding Ceremonies
“Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows.”
Inspired by our recent visit to Fort Edmonton Park Indigenous Peoples Experience, we are sharing some traditions commonly included in First Nations marriage ceremonies. Each nation is unique so it makes it difficult to categorize any aspect as all encompassing to Indigenous culture.
The Blanket Ceremony
During the wedding ceremony, the mothers of the bride and groom will drape blue blankets over the shoulders of their child. The blue blanket represents the sorrow of their lives before their union in marriage. Once the ceremony is nearing its end, a close relative of the couple will step forward with a white blanket. The blue blankets are each removed and the relative drapes the large white blanket over the couple. Once this is done, the partners can enter into their life together with peace and fulfillment.
The Smudging Ceremony
This type of ceremony is not exclusive to wedding rituals. It is a ceremony done to purify or cleanse the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. Sage, sweetgrass, or other ritualistic flowers will be used during smudging. The smoke also helps carry their wedding prayers to the Creator.
The Vase Ritual
A Pueblo wedding vase can be identified by the two spouts that are joined together by a handle. The two spouts represent the individual lives of each person and the spout Historically, the vase would be handcrafted by the groom and his family and presented to the bride and her family. During the ceremony, the bride and groom each take a sip from the vase. In some cultures, the newly weds must drink together from the vase together. If they can do this without spilling, they are said to expect mutual understanding throughout their marriage.
Incorporating meaningful wedding traditions like these are a beautiful way to honor your heritage on your special day.