Dancing is often a big part of any wedding celebration, but these dance traditions vary in different countries and cultures.
Cajun: The Broom Dance
Cajun people were often isolated from the rest of the world and there weren’t many churches or courthouses nearby. Engaged couples will ceremoniously jump over a broom to represent their marriage until a priest could come to officially marry them. The broom is also part of a playful dance that unmarried siblings participate in during the reception.
China: The Lion Dance
The Chinese lion dance is performed at a wedding reception to bless the bride and groom. After the dance is performed, the lions give gifts to bless the couple.
Czech: Dancing with the Veil
Instead of a bouquet toss, in a Czech wedding the bride will take off her veil and close her eyes. Her single friends will dance around her while she tries to catch one of them to put on the veil. The woman who is caught is said to be the next bride.
Greece: The Kalamatianó and the Tsamiko
The Kalamatianó and the Tsamiko are both Greek folk dances that take place at weddings and other celebratory events. In the Kalamatianó, dancers hold hands and move in a circle, while in the Tsamiko, dancers hold hands in a line and perform leaps and other steps.
Garba and Raas (or Dandiya Raas) are Indian folk dances that are performed at pre-wedding celebrations. The two dances are very similar except that Raas is danced while holding dandiya sticks (hitting your partner’s sticks to the beat of the music). Both dances are done wearing colorful costumes.
Jamaica: The Quadrille
A Jamaican wedding celebration typically includes a lot of dancing. One traditional dance is the Quadrille, which originated in Europe and became popular in the British colonies. It was adopted – and adjusted – by slaves and is still popular in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean today.
Judaism: The Hora
At a Jewish wedding, the bride and groom are hoisted high about the crowd on chairs by their guests, while friends and family dance around them in a circle.
New Orleans: Second Line Dance
The second line is a tradition in parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. The “first line” is the main parade, while the second line consists of dancers who follow the parade just to enjoy the music. Second lines are held for any celebratory event, include weddings.
Pakistan: Dholki and Mehndi
The Dholki is a pre-wedding celebration where guests will gather at the bride’s house to sing and dance (accompanied by percussion instruments). Sometimes there might be several dholkis for family or friends. The Mehndi is another pre-wedding ceremony where henna is symbolically placed on the couple’s hands. Later, the bride and groom’s friends and family participate in a playful song and dance competition.
Poland: The Money Dance
The “Money Dance” is actually done in several different cultures but some people believe it originated in Poland. In the traditional, wedding guests take turns dancing with the bride and donate money to the couple.
Samoa: The Taualuga
The Taualuga is a traditional Samoan dance that is danced throughout Polynesia. It symbolizes the conclusion of a monumental task and as such is often the final dance at a wedding reception.
Scottish weddings typically include several different processionals and marches. Several Ceilidh folk dances are performed such as the Circassian Circle.