Rituals and traditions are integral parts of a Native American Wedding. You may have participated in many weddings but might not know why these rights and rituals have such an immense importance. These rituals vary from culture to culture. If you are planning for Native American wedding, then you need to know their rituals for a traditional ceremony. From the ceremony attire to exchange of vows, the Native American wedding is different from traditional American wedding. In this article, we will discuss rituals and traditions of the traditional Native American wedding.
Here are some tips on wedding traditions in Native Americans:
- Wedding Attire:
In Native American weddings, the brides wear red instead of white. The tradition is to wear the same attire passed on from one generation to another. However, the wedding attire is not same in all the cases. According to the Manataka American Indian Council, the wedding attire for Cherokee tribe is quite different from that of other tribes. The bride wears a white dress and moccasins. This color signifies purity, innocence, and wholeness. However, the groom, in contrast, wears black moccasins and pant along with a vermilion colored shirt.
- Exchange of Vows:
This is one of the best Native American wedding. In this, the bride and groom complete the Rite of Seven Steps. Most of the tribes follow this wedding ritual and its vows. The bride and groom circle clockwise around fire seven times and take seven vows. The groom takes the first step and gives the vow, then the bride follows him and takes her vow. Revolving round the fire signifies drawing warmth and light that they’ll bring in each other’s lives. The family members and guests also play a role in this tradition. As the couple takes a step around the fire, the guests and family member hold hands and make a bigger circle around them. The bride and groom exchange gifts like an ear of corn that signifies fertility, feather that denotes honesty and truth and lastly stones which symbolize strength to face the challenges of new life.
- Fire Ceremony:
This is one of the Native American wedding traditions where the fire is lit up in a circular shape with seven types of woods and stones. At the center, there is one large stack of firewood which is left unlit. There are two small stacks placed in north and south of the large firewood stack. The two small stack denotes the respective lives of bride and groom. Prayer is offered to the two small burning pieces of firewood by the respective bride and groom. Eventually, they start pushing their respective firewood towards the large firewood at the center. This ritual symbolizes the union of two souls and lifelong togetherness.
- Water Ceremony:
In Navajo Nation, water ceremony is one of the wedding traditions in Native Americans. In this ritual, the bride pours water on the groom’s hand denoting bonding of two individuals. Both bride and groom wash each other’s hands to wash away the old memories and begin a new life.
- Blanket Ceremony:
This ritual begins with the wrapping of the bride and groom in two separate blue blankets. The bride and groom while wrapped in a blanket seek blessing from the officiant. Once they receive the blessing, then the individual blue blankets are removed. After that, they are again wrapped together in one white blanket symbolizing the union of two souls.
Therefore, these Native American wedding traditions are quite interesting rituals and each ritual symbolizes the union of two souls through a beautiful bond of marriage.