Wedding Traditions: Tying Shoes to the Bumper

Obviously the tradition of tying shoes to the back of the bumper of the bride and groom’s car as they leave the wedding reception cannot go back too far; cars were only available for about a century!

But, the shoe part has been around for quite some time.  The ancient Assyrians, Egyptians and Hebrews traded sandals as a transaction was completed, similar to how we now sign a contract and have a glass of Champagne.  In the case of a wedding, this was symbolic of transferring responsibility for the care of the daughter from the father to the groom.  In fact, some societies had a custom where all of the bride’s shoes were given to the groom at the time of the wedding.

Of interest, there is a reference to shoes in the Old Testament.  In Ruth 4, Boaz took off his shoe as a sign he was purchasing the land that Ruth and Naomi were offering.

One historical account states that the groom would tap one of the shoes on the bride’s head as a sign that he accepted this responsibility.

During the 5th century, Anglo-Saxons would throw shoes at the bride and groom as a way to grant them luck.  Later this tradition became associated with shoes being tied to the carriage.  In particular if baby shoes were tied, it was supposed to be symbolize the wish for fertility.

This tradition seems to be waning with the use of limousine’s but it is interesting none the less!

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