Customs and traditions of weddings in Naples
19 August 2019
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. This proverb applies to weddings too, especially in Italy. Every region and every city have their own traditions when it comes to weddings. For example, suggestion and superstition have always formed part of Neapolitan traditions.
Weddings in Naples: tradition and superstition
A wedding in Naples is a unique event. Think about the beautiful surroundings of the location: an amazing sun-kissed city, Mediterranean weather, a cultural and culinary heaven. Basically, it’s the ideal place for your dreamy wedding, with breathtaking views on the sea near some touristy destinations like Ischia, Capri, Positano or Sorrento. These are the reasons why more and more couples decide to get married at the foot of Vesuvius.
Like all the other places, Naples too has its own rituals and superstitions, especially when it comes to weddings. These rituals don’t only take place the day of the wedding, but also the previous days. Here are some of the most popular traditions of weddings in Naples.
Asking for the hand and serenade
A real Neapolitan wedding is anticipated by a serenade the day before the ceremony. Together with musicians and friends, the groom goes under the bride’s balcony and sings his love. The previous months he is supposed to ask for the hand the bride’s father and he should give her the engagement ring.
Seeing each other the day before the wedding is forbidden
Another Neapolitan tradition wants the bride to sleep at her parents’ house the night before the wedding. For the most superstitious, a wedding will be lucky only if it’s celebrated on Sunday (never on Tuesday or Friday). It’s common to distribute the invitations by hand while visiting relatives and friends with a bunch of treats. It’s bad luck if the groom sees the bride’s dress before the wedding and if the wedding rings are worn before the ceremony.
Tradition and superstition: other typical Neapolitan customs
The day of the wedding, in the morning, guests usually go to the bride’s house in order to accompany her to the Church. She should welcome them with a little feast with sweets and desserts. Generally, the father is supposed to walk her daughter down the aisle and, according to the tradition, she should wear a white dress, something blue, a used accessory, a new accessory and something given by a friend.
What about the groom? The most superstitious recommend to bring in your pocket a steel object or a pair of scissors in order to “cut bad tongues”. Another lucky ritual is to throw rice to the couple when they come out of the church because it’s a symbol of fertility. You should also honk during the wedding procession outside the church.
Throwing the bouquet and garter ritual
In a Neapolitan wedding, the bride is supposed to throw the bouquet (chosen and bought by her mother-in-law) towards a group of unmarried women; as for the groom, he is supposed to throw his wife’s garter towards unmarried men. Another superstitious ritual for the couple is to break a pot or a glass the day of the wedding: the number of the broken pieces stands for the years of happiness. Another typical Neapolitan tradition is the “handkerchief” with sugared almonds, a symbolic party favor for the guests. Finally, when the couple will settle in their new house, the groom should hold his wife as a symbol of protection during their life together.