A lot of customs are associated with the wedding cake. This very special treat is a symbol of the lasting and sweet union between husband and wife.
The wedding cake began as a simple biscuit or scone during the Middle Ages. The bride would carry a wheat bridal bouquet and scatter its grains on the floor after the wedding. These grains would then be gathered and baked into a cake and broken over the bride’s head as a symbol of good luck and fertility. The crumbs are then given to the guests to eat since they believed it would bring them good luck.
Another custom evolved during Medieval times. The guests brought sweet buns to the wedding which would be stacked on top of one another in front of the newly married couple. Custom dictated that the bride and groom had to kiss each other across the top of the piled buns to bring good luck and fertility in their marriage.
The traditional look of today’s wedding cake was mainly influenced by the French during the 17th century, wherein French bakers stacked wheat buns and covered the whole design with icing.
Today, wedding cakes are more elaborate in designs and themes. Small couple figurines sit atop the wedding cake as a symbol of togetherness. Ancient customs are no longer practiced but have been replaced by new customs with the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake together, representing the first task they do together as husband and wife. Slices of cake are then distributed to guests, which originated from the tradition of the guests eating the crumbs for good luck.
Customs involving the wedding cake have changed a lot over the years. But the one thing that will endure in spite of it all are the emotions and meanings behind these traditions—good luck, fertility, and the celebration of a new life and commitment between two people.
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