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– by Adrian Cavlan of Sound In Motion Entertainment Group

The Jewish wedding celebration is filled with lots of fun and traditions. Here are a few to know!

The Chuppah is the wedding canopy, under which the ceremony will take place. This Chuppah is brought to / built at whatever site the wedding will take place, whether outdoor or indoor. It is a symbol of the new home that the bride and groom will build together and it is open on all sides, as a traditional gesture of unconditional hospitality.

The ceremony starts as both the chatan (groom) and the kallah (bride) are escorted to the Chuppah by both of their parents.

During the Kiddushin, or “betrothal”, the marriage blessings are recited by the rabbi with a cup of wine and the couple will drink from the cup. This part of the ceremony symbolizes the sanctification of the husband and wife to one another.

In true Jewish tradition, the moment that the marriage becomes official is when the groom places the ring on the bride’s finger and recites the traditional Jewish vow of betrothal under the laws of Moses and Israel.

Then the Ketubah – a marriage contract, signed by the bride and groom, with two witnesses – is read. This is followed by seven blessings (Sheva Brachot) accompanied by more wine.

Here in the USA, usually a Jewish wedding ceremony ends with the groom stomping on and breaking a wine glass as the gathered family and friends all shout “Mazeltov!” in unison, meaning “congratulations” and “good luck”!

Immediately after the ceremony, the bride and groom are sent off to a private Yichud room, where they spend their first time alone together as husband and wife.

And lastly, afterward there is a big feast and of course a party!

At the party, one of the big highlights will be the dancing of the Hora – the traditional Jewish “circle dance” that usually starts with the song “Hava Nagila”. Some Horas can last 20 minutes, so be sure to bring your dancing shoes.

“L’chaim!” or “(let us drink) to life!”