Marriage in Malta was always a big deal and like many other countries, it had its own set of wedding traditions which are no longer practised. Here we will look at a few of them.
This meant that many people would have never seen their future spouse before they asked for their hand in marriage. When a family had a daughter of marriageable age, they would put out a plant on the window ledge and wait for a suitable groom. If a man would be interested in the prospect of marriage and he would spy a plant outside, he would visit the local ħuttab or matchmaker. The matchmaker would approach the girl’s parents and if they agreed to the man in question a dowry would be settled on.
On the wedding day itself, there would be an entire procession to the church headed by a group of musicians and singers singing beautiful songs about the couple. This would be followed by a man carrying wine and candles, another two men carrying the wedding cake and various sweets and pastries and yet another throwing nuts and coins in the street for the crowd. Finally, the bride would appear under a baldakkin or canopy accompanied by her father.
In fact, this custom only started in the mid-nineteenth century. Before then, brides would usually wear a pretty, festive dress with the most common choice of colours being dark red and black. Guests tended to wear black too. We must not forget that the black għonella was still widely being worn till about seventy years ago.
In fact, the bride would go back to her home alone and spend a further eight days there with her family until she went to her new, marital home. Her first trip to the marital home was called Il-Ħarġa or the outing because it was her first big outing as a married woman.
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