The joyful blackening of bride or groom. (Credits: Kelly Erker, Facebook)

‘Blackening of Bride & Groom’ A Scottish unforgettable wedding experience

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Edinburgh, Scotland: Weird customs are the foundation of a culture’s history. The world never halts to make people go stunned and sometimes amazed with its strange things wedding traditions.

These unreal wedding customs have always been passed down from generation to generation. It could look completely insane for foreigners. However, it holds an important place for the people who are natives of that region.

The Scottish pre-wedding custom of “Blackening the groom and bride” is one such tradition which can arouse one’s curiosity.

An Unreal Scottish pre-wedding tradition

Like other older cultures, Scotland has had a vast pool of traditions since Celtic times. However, these traditions make their wedding interesting and unique.

One can witness its pre-wedding culture of “Blackening of the groom and bride”, which is an essential part of their marriage rituals. However, this may look totally sickening to many, but it holds a deep value to the local population who has kept this ritual alive.

It is to be noted that the pre-wedding tradition of the “Blackening of the bride or groom” links back to uncertain history via the Scottish marriage rituals and is recalled as fun but one of the mucky traditions across the region.

Being shared by the entire community, this custom comes in direct opposition to the alcohol as well as the sex-themed hen nights along with the bachelor parties.

The tight-knit community comes together to confer some very important bits of wisdom that should be known to every married couple before they head for the wedding. They are even asking to acknowledge the wedding of the couple.

Blackening the Groom/Bride Ritual

The friends, relatives or co-workers take the groom or the bride or both as prisoners. The couple are tied to chairs, and people throw all kinds of ridiculous, disgusting and foul substances on them, such as,

  • Smelly sauces
  • Feathers
  • Rotten eggs
  • Boot polish
  • Spoiled curry
  • Soot
  • Flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Treacle
  • Curdled milk
  • Or anything grungy and black

    Bride is being poured with various thing during the blackening ritual, (Credits- Happitots Boddam, Facebook)
    Bride is being poured with various thing during the blackening ritual, (Credits- Happitots Boddam, Facebook)

Sometimes, the groom and bride are supposed to sit atop a lorry, a bathtub, or just paraded around the town in their guilt-ridden state. Their friends, relatives or any other well-wishers make as much as possible noise while following them, including,

– Beating sticks

– Creating as loud a din

– Blowing

– Banging drums

– Shouting

– Blowing whistles

The couple is believed to have paraded through the streets of their own town for long hours. Sometimes, people come out of their homes to make a contribution to the blackening with their own helpings of gunk, filth or whatever is available to them.

The couple is tied to a tree after everything, which is normal for the procession to end up in the sea. This is no less than a humiliation for a soon-to-be-married couple.

What does the ritual signify?

Not many people of Scotland know about this pre-wedding ritual as it is limited to its ancient rural parts of the country.

Natives believe that this blackening custom symbolizes the existence of Celtic traditions across the centuries of Christianization.

Scots pointed out the relevance of this custom and that this kind of humiliation and hazing struck the rosy notions and prepared them for the strident realities of married life. It is supposed to highlight that if a couple could last through this horrifying trial, they would face any challenge in their lives.

Notably, according to the natives, the ritual makes the couple close to each other, as due to their blackened bodies, nobody dares to come close to any one of them.

However, this kind of unnatural tradition is still mystical to many.