Something Old, Something New

Thanks to Hollywood’s romantic chick flicks the whole world has heard the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue”, but I bet that only a number of people know the story behind this good-luck rhyme despite its evident popularity to this day.

In fact, the original bridal rhyme goes:

“Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

Bridal Rhyme Gift

Bridal Rhyme Gift

The bridal rhyme comes from the English tradition, but it’s not exactly clear when it was established. According to certain documents and studies on history of the customs across the country, it was written in 1876. that this rhyme is derived from an ancient marital custom, while other sources claim that it gained its popularity and modern form in the Victorian age, mostly to symbolise the young bride’s leaving her family and starting a new one in happiness and prosperity. Apparently, way back, “something old”  & “something new” were items whose role was to keep bad luck (the Evil Eye) away, especially in connection to the bride’s fertility. In those days, if a woman was barren she was usually cast aside and proclaimed unworthy of marriage or family. The element “something borrowed” usually came from a fertile woman who was already married and had lots of children so that the new bride would also be as lucky. It was usually a piece of underwear, a garter, or a lace handkerchief. “Something blue” usually stood for loyalty and faithfulness, although some sources say that blue was considered back luck in relation to weddings. The “silver sixpence” was of course for wealth.

A penny in the bride's shoes for wealth

A penny in the bride’s shoes for wealth

Later on, the traditions and legends have changed in various regions and stories around their symbolism transformed. Nowadays, “something old” is needed to signify the bride’s detachment from her family and the start of her own family, her new path in life. The “something old” element is there to always remind her where she came from and to remind her of her family. Modern brides usually take away a piece of family jewellery or some kind of ornament that has been in the family for years. “Something new” is usually the wedding gown or something that goes with the bride’s outfit, a detail that has never been worn before. It is a symbol of good luck and happiness in her soon-to-be new life that she is supposed to commit to for the rest of her life. It also represents optimism for the future. “Something  borrowed” is usually a friend’s garter or something she wore on the day of her wedding. It is an element that’s suppose to remind the bride that her friends and family will always be by her side and of course for good luck. “Something blue” is considered a token of love, loyalty, purity and fidelity. The “sixpence in her shoe” somehow dropped out of the combination in time.

Garter - usually borrowed & preferably blue

Garter – usually borrowed & preferably blue

Modern-day brides have so many choices and so many tips for which items could be their good luck charms before the wedding. You can order and buy everything you can think of and have lots of fun with this particular tradition. Something new could be lingerie for the first wedding night. Something old could be an item connected to a memory you share with your maid of honour. Something blue can be a million things as well, although in some cultures it is recommended to avoid blue jewellery. It is considered a sign of bad luck. Either way, the tradition is sweet and it can be a cute and memorable ritual with your closest girlfriends on your bridal shower or your bachelorette party. Girls are usually prepared for something like this from the moment they found out you were engaged. If you like the idea, don’t be afraid to apply it even if it’s not traditionally from your country. Alternatively, stick to your own traditions, but add them a modern, funny touch and make a joke out of it.

Girls just wanna have fun. A 1950s bridal shower.

Girls just wanna have fun. A 1950s bridal shower.

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About Author: Masa

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