Jumping the broom, tying the knot, getting hitched; the different names we call getting married vary as much as wedding celebrations across the globe. Nevertheless, whether it’s in East Asia, Europe or Africa, wanting to be a beautiful bride is a universal truth and the beauty prep often begins long before the walk down the aisle, and for many it can be deeply rooted in history and culture. Here are 5 of the most fascinating ancient and wonderful bridal beauty rituals from around the world that brides have practiced in their quest for wedding day perfection.
In India, the blushing bride is blushing for a reason: For thousands of years, long before turmeric lattes became a staple in our cafes, brides in India have used turmeric masks – in what’s known as a Haldi ceremony – to make skin soft and radiant. Before the wedding day, it’s tradition for Indian and Pakistani brides to be painted head to toe with a special paste made from turmeric, milk, flour, sandalwood and rosewater in order to achieve that ‘pre-wedding glow’. Called the golden spice for good reason, turmeric is anti-inflammatory and its antioxidant properties are renowned for brightening and evening out skin tone.
Japanese women are known for their flawless skin and we’ve been told that the secret is camellia oil. This wonder ingredient, a staple for geishas who are considered the pinnacles of beauty, is the panacea behind their thick glossy hair and gorgeous skin. It is produced from pressing the seeds of the camellia flower which is indigenous to Japan and China. This potent beauty tool, known for its remarkable ability to retain moisture and penetrate the deepest layers of the skin is an inexpensive passport to bridal luminescence and remains an integral part of Japanese wedding festivities.
Dukhan, which means smoke is the beauty treatment usually given to the bride-to-be before marriage in Sudan. The process involves the bride being massaged with several aromatic oils and then sitting in a chair underneath a clay pot of burning acacia wood and sandalwood. This process can go on for 40 days with twice daily treatments and no bathing is allowed during this period. On the 40th day the sooty layers that have been building up are peeled and removed revealing beautiful glowing skin and a lingering scent that lasts for days.
In Peru, Inca baths are revered as pure and used to detoxify the soul. These pools are thought to have cleansing properties and, traditionally, brides bathe in these waters seeking purification before their wedding day. The revered waters are thought to bless the bride with wealth and fertility.
Traditional Yemeni weddings are lavish occasions where the bride starts her beauty prep 5 days before the wedding. The matrimonial journey begins with an invigorating hammam ritual in a Turkish bath house to get her skin soft and bright and culminates in a henna party where ornate symbols are painted on the bride’s hands and feet. Aside from marking the bride with fragrant red-stained hands, the paste also helps to cool and relax the body, hence why the ritual takes place the night before the wedding to soothe any frayed nerves.
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