Japanese Weddings

The Japanese usually hold their Asian weddings during their favorite seasons – spring and autumn. Religious Japanese weddings are held in a shrine, Shinto style. Shinto, which means “the way of the gods”, is one of two of Japan’s major religions. The other being Buddhism.

During the ceremony, the couple is dressed in kimono. Kimono is the traditional Japanese clothing made of silk and it is very expensive. The groom wears a black kimono with his family crest while the bride wears a red or white silk kimono that is elaborately decorated with a headdress. The kimono is usually worn during formal occasions like weddings, tea ceremonies and funerals.

Only the couple’s close family members can attend the wedding ceremony, which is conducted by a Shinto priest. The couple drinks “sake” (rice wine) during the ceremony in order to be “purified”. The couple also performs the “San-San-Kudo” or ceremony of the Three-Times-Three Exchange of nuptial cups. When the couple makes an offering of twigs of “sakaki” sacred tree to honor the gods, it marks the end of the ceremony. The relatives of both parties exchange “sake” to symbolize the union of the two families.

Christian style, Buddhist style and civil weddings are also performed in Japan. Non-Christian couples can hold their weddings in a church and have a Christian ceremony. In a Buddhist wedding held in a Honganji Temple, the ceremony includes prayers addressed by the priest, the presentation of Buddhist rosaries, incense burning, drinks of oath and Buddhist worship.

Post-wedding activity is also held wherein family members, friends, and co-workers join the celebration of the newlyweds. The bride changes her outfit and wears her second wedding dress. White and red are combinations always used in Japanese weddings because the Japanese regard them as “happy colors”. Some foods are also served with the same color theme.
Copyright 2005, Andrea R Britt. All rights reserved.