‘Weird’ Marriage Practices From Around the World

“I do.” You swear those words are on repeat. Your friends are tying the knot every weekend, you are getting the bridesmaid call every other day, or maybe you’ve even organized a few weddings yourself, so you think you know all there is to know about wedding trends and practices. You may be wrong, though. Here are some of the weirdest marriage practices from around the world.

Groom flogging

The practice of flogging the groom has existed among the Fulani for ages. Imagine getting whipped for love? What better way to show a lady that you love her and will stay devoted, right? Some rich men have been said to pay others to take this beating for them. Seems like a desperate move just to get married? You wouldn’t think so if you saw these ladies. Fulani women are supposed to be rank among the most beautiful women in the world!

Wife inheritance

Some African tribes practice the marriage custom of inheriting wives either when their brothers die and leave a widow behind or when a wife dies, and the widower marries her sister. It’s supposed to draw both families closer in spite of any deaths that have occurred. It might also be to keep the wealth in the family and to ensure that the children are raised by their aunts or uncles instead of just having to get used to a stranger in the form of a new spouse.


Cart before the horse

Getting pregnant for the groom before getting married is a strict requirement in some cultures to convince the groom’s family that the bride is fertile, has not lived a ‘wayward’ life and will produce many children in the marriage.


Picture couples

An African marriage practice where a wedding is conducted like normal, but the only difference is that instead of an actual bride or groom, a young boy and young girl are required to carry the pictures of the actual bride or groom and dance through the ceremony.

Ghost wife

A bewildering marriage practice in a certain Kenyan tribe allows a woman to be married by a family on behalf of their dead son. As her actual husband is dead, she is allowed to have children by other men. These children are accepted by the husband’s family and get to inherit in spite of everything.

House arrest

There’s a cultural practice in Borneo that keeps the bride and groom from leaving their house no matter what the reason on their wedding day. It’s supposed to ensure a fruitful marriage.

‘Fattening’ up

The fattening room is a popular practice that’s accepted in Calabar, Nigeria. The bride-to-be is fattened for a period by experienced women who plan and monitor a diet that’s supposed to give her a rosy hue and a voluptuous body (a body type Calabar men are said to prefer). Young girls are also taught to cook, please men and take care of the home during this period. Mauritian women are sometimes force-fed before they get married to make them more robust because a skinny bride is not exactly a sign that she will bring good luck or fruitfulness to that union.


The bridesmaids’ wall

The bridesmaids’ wall is a Chinese practice that requires a groom to break through a wall of irate bridesmaids. These ladies make a big show of being reluctant to let their friend, and they make the groom jump through hoops to get her. It usually involves him paying some money and performing hilarious tasks like running a distance or saying silly things that may end up on video, all to prove that he really wants and deserves their friend.

Tree wives

The practice of marrying trees is one that can be found in certain parts of India. It can be traced to a belief that some girls are cursed because they were born during a certain astrological period which may result in early deaths for their husbands. To avoid losing their husbands early in the marriage, they are made to wed a tree as a first ‘husband’ before the tree is cut down and then they are free to marry men.

Chinese waterworks

The Tujia people of China encourage their brides to cry one hour every day for one month before the wedding date. Other females in the bride’s family can also show their support by observing this crying practice. It is believed that brides who observe this custom will bring good luck to their husbands and families.

These might not look like anything on any wedding prep checklist you have ever seen but don’t forget that customs and practices (weird or not) are to be respected as well. You may feel tempted to ask strangers from any of these places about these practices but remember that some countries have thousands of customs and hundreds of tribes and their citizens may not know every existing custom in their countries.


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