There are many non-Western cultures and faiths that practice magnanimous food sharing. In the Jewish faither, there’s the ‘Yihud’ that provides a secluded moment for the newlyweds to feed each other their first meal as a married couple. And during the ‘kiddushin’ (betrothal ceremony) the bride and groom share wine during a blessing.
In Afrocentric customs, particularly from the Yoruba tradition, bride and groom taste of the four elements: sour (lemon), bitter (vinegar), hot (cayenne), and sweet (honey) to demonstrate their ability to stand united through good times and bad. And African weddings view the exchange and sharing of a Kola nut as not just a medicinal legume, but as a symbolic promise to always help heal family members (African Muslims view it more as a symbol of fertility).
In our own wedding reception, my spouse and I did the traditional wedding cake because, well – we really love cake and accepted its fertile symbolism. But, we also honored my Ukrainian heritage by having a breaded cake, called the Korovai, accompanied by salt and wine. The bread was handmade by my family, which represents community and the circle of life; and it was accompanied by salt for prosperity. Both sets of parents circle around the bread with the newlyweds and toast to symbolize a new united family. The tradition was about honoring my ancestry and ethnicity, their daughter, and their new family member, my spouse. While I didn’t need (nor really want) the ten plus decorative doves that symbolized the prediction of ten plus kids my parents expect me to pop out, my spouse and I took the gesture in stride. The Korovai tradition was a nice reminder of the importance of family and ethnicity.
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