Until the 17th century, Sunday used to be the most popular day
for weddings in Britain as it was the one day most people
were free from work. However, the Puritans put a stop to this,
believing it was improper to be festive on the Sabbath.
Nowadays most weddings take place on a Saturday, despite the famous
wedding day rhyme advising that these bring ‘no luck at all’!
Monday for wealth,
Tuesday for health,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
Saturday for no luck at all.
As for the time of year, Lent was thought to be an
inappropriate time for a wedding as this was a time of abstinence.
Similarly, the saying 'Marry in the month of May, and you'll live
to rue the day' dates back to Pagan times when May (Beltane -
the start of summer) was celebrated with outdoor orgies and was therefore
thought to be an unsuitable time to start married life! In Roman
times the Feast of the Dead and the festival of the goddess
of chastity also both occurred in May.
The advice was taken more seriously in Victorian times than it is
today! Even Queen Victoria is said to have banned her children from
marrying in May. In most Churches the end of April was a
busy time for weddings as couples wanted to avoid being married in May.
However, June was considered to be a lucky month to marry in
because it was named after Juno, the Roman goddess of women and
love, who was also seen as the protector of married life. The
Romans believed that she blessed marriages that took place in her month.
The Summer as a whole was considered a good time to marry
and this is partly to do with the sun's association with fertility.
In Scotland one popular custom was for the bride to "walk with
the sun" to bring her good luck. She would walk from east
to west on the south side of the church and then continue
walking around the church three times.
Advice on which month to marry in is given by the following rhymes:
Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man
Marry in the month of May, and you'll live to rue the day
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bread
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September's shine, your living will be rich and fine
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last
Married in January's roar and rime,
Widowed you'll be before your prime
Married in February's sleepy weather,
Life you'll tread in time together
Married when March winds shrill and roar,
Your home will lie on a distant shore
Married 'neath April's changeful skies,
A chequered path before you lies
Married when bees o'er May blossoms flit,
Strangers around your board will sit
Married in month of roses June,
Life will be one long honeymoon
Married in July with flowers ablaze,
Bitter-sweet memories in after days
Married in August's heat and drowse,
Lover and friend in your chosen spouse
Married in September's golden glow,
Smooth and serene your life will go
Married when leaves in October thin,
Toil and hardships for you begin
Married in veils of November mist,
Fortune your wedding ring has kissed
Married in days of December's cheer,
Love's star shines brighter from year to year.
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