Imagine, as you enter a party, cups, and plates are flying through the air. Smashed porcelain is scattered all over the floor. The venue appears nearly like a battlefield. And what’s worse: it is a wedding ceremony party. Could this be the end of the relationship so close earlier than the marriage? Not in Germany! Because what appears like a raging battle of the bridal couple is really pretty the opposite. According to the ancient German saying, “Scherben bringen Glück”, shards supposedly carry excellent fortune. And shards is what it is all about at this unique pre-wedding party recognized as Polterabend.
Initially, Polterabend took place till night time earlier than the wedding. The typical ritual represented the threshold in the transition from bachelorhood to marriage. Nowadays, it has come to be very frequent to enjoy Polterabend a week earlier than the wedding, though. Actually, pretty understandably. Because who desires to be hungover on the day of their wedding, right? Traditionally, the celebration takes place in front of the bride’s parents’ house.
While there are individual invites for the wedding, the couple solely openly pronounces the time and date for Polterabend. Thus, no invitation is wanted and essentially anyone can attend on this day. A wonderful occasion for friends or neighbors who are not invited to the wedding ceremony itself to have fun with the couple. Although, it is usually an appropriate idea to particularly invite the neighbors. After all, they can’t complain about all the noise of the smashing china when they are at the celebration themselves. As the entire event is more easy-going, additionally, gifts are much less “expected” on Polterabend in comparison to the normal wedding ceremony celebration. However, guests who aren’t coming to the wedding ceremony generally carry little presents on this occasion.
Of course, a German party like this doesn’t go without food and drinks. The dish of preference here is regularly a proper old chicken soup. Not only for its normal and scrumptious style however additionally for its symbolism. Back in the days, visitors would hand the bridal couple chickens as a wish for fertility. The same is presently performed with the soup. And if you reflect about it, a close connection of this very symbolism to the phrase “hen night” is no longer a long way to seek either.
Let The Chinaware Fly!
Now, let’s get to the principal appeal of this spectacle that every person is ready for: the smashing of porcelain. Guests genuinely carry all types of historic stuff they choose to get rid of – from cups and plates to pottery, flower pots, or ceramic tiles. And of course, each household has its hoaxers who go all out and show up with sinks and even toilets. But keep in mind that not all sorts of shards will carry desirable luck. According to frequent superstition, damaged glass and especially mirrors suggest seven years of horrific luck. And this is surely now not what you want for the couple on this day. So we suggest you stick to your historic dishes to be safe. Whether visitors throw their porcelain immediately upon arrival or wait for each person to gather around and smash the china in unison, relies upon on the individual tradition of the family.
After the visitors have completed their duty, it is up to the bridal couple to take on some other crucial section of the tradition. Thus, the bride and groom have to sweep the flooring collectively and dispose of all the shards. This symbolic act represents the future challenges that the two will have to grasp collectively throughout the path of their marriage.
Garments for the wedding ceremony are elegant in Germany, historically with a white robe and suit – or even Dirndl and Lederhosen in Bavaria. In contrast, clothing on Polterabend is alternatively casual. Especially for the bride and groom, it is recommended not to put on their favored outfits. Well, that is if they ever prefer to put on them once more afterward. Because when the clock strikes nighttime some other custom which is specifically frequent in Northern Germany comes into play. As a symbol of maintaining the couple walking away from each other, the visitors burn the pants of the groom and nail the bride’s footwear onto a wood board. In some regions, additionally, the bra of the bride falls victim to the flames. Finally, the ashes get buried collectively with a bottle of alcohol. One year in, the couple and friends dig up the booze again and drink it together.
Polterabend Against The Poltergeist
Since Polterabend is a century-old tradition, the actual origins aren’t absolutely clear anymore today. However, sources advocate that its roots lie in late medieval times. The way we comprehend it today began to evolve later in the 1800s. Supposedly, the title Polterabend initially came from Poltergeistabend which means “the evening of the Poltergeist”. For centuries, human beings have tried to chase away ghosts and demons with a loud noise. Thus, comparable to New Year’s Eve when fireworks take on this task, smashing china serves the reason to guard the bridal couple from evil. In a greater symbolic than literal way, these “ghosts” can additionally symbolize the fears of the bride and groom. Thus, the transformational ritual helps to free them from any uncertainties as they begin spending the relaxation of their lives together.
It is amazing that almost the same representation can be found in other cultures. For instance, if you accidentally break a glass or a dish in Morocco, you will be told to not worry, the porcelain took away the misery! However, don’t break all dishes so that the misery vanishes completely!