Rain Again!?

…Is it lucky on your wedding day?

It’s been a rainy summer and I recently wrote about that all-important rain plan for your outdoor ceremony. Now I have something else to say about rain and weddings.

I have found myself, far too often this year, telling the story of why it is lucky to have rain on your wedding day. I once thought this was simply a silly rationalization. After all, you’re unhappy it rained on your big day, and people keep telling you it’s lucky. Right! Sounds bogus, or so I thought.

But upon further examination there is quite a bit of logic and history involved. And like so many ancient wedding rituals and customs it involves fertility.  Long ago (how long? I’m not really sure) people were dependent upon rain for their very survival. If it didn’t rain, food didn’t grow, and they might starve. Any gardener or farmer will tell you the same – rain equals growth. We humans also needed to grow children for the community to survive; children help with those crops, as well as hunt or care for elders. So, rain equals fertility for both crops and people!

And not surprisingly, other rituals such as throwing rice or grains, or carrying a bouquet of herbs also speak to fertility. It is all connected to the earth and the basics of survival. I like how ritual connects us to our history and place on this earth. Yes, these classic customs have deep roots. Even wedding cakes, a part of weddings since medieval times, were a symbol of fertility and prosperity because they were made from wheat. A relic of fertility rites, ancient wedding cakes were literally thrown at the bride, and that could be the origin of today’s cake smashing tradition.

Ritual washing in the Ganges River

Another way to think about rain is that it is cleansing. The idea of washing away sorrow or sadness is a meaningful way to look at it. Think of how a rainstorm will wash away dirt or dust, even off of your car, and how wonderful the air smells afterward a rainstorm. You might even see a rainbow before it’s all over.

Water in itself is a strong symbol. Civilizations began around water – from the fertile Nile delta, and by rivers, streams, lakes and oceans everywhere. Water plays a prominent part in religions as well. Holy Water. Think of Baptism for Christians or the Hindu ritual of wading into the Ganges river to wash away sins. Muslims ritually cleanse themselves before prayer, and not surprisingly ritual washing is common in Judaism. (I’m always amazedat the commonalities between Judaism and Islam).

Water symbolizes healing, which can be literal as well. There are even modern fertility rituals for women wishing to become pregnant, and many of them involve water.

I, too, love using water ritualistically. However, I must admit that having that water come down from the sky on your wedding day isn’t exactly great.

But, if it rains on YOUR wedding day it may help to remember the connection between our ancestors and the very moment you are experiencing. A couple somewhere, so long ago, whether on the plains of North America, or some medieval farmer, was rejoicing that the rain came! And if you attend a wedding and it rains you can share the story behind the good luck and help make the day a little brighter.

thank you Lisa Rhinehart for your beautiful photography!

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  • Blog Author

    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Visit her website: ... Read Full
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