South African Traditional Wedding Dresses Biography
A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of wedding vows by the couple, presentation of a gift (offering, ring(s), symbolic item, flowers, money), and a public proclamation of marriage by an authority figure or leader. Special wedding garments are often worn, and the ceremony is sometimes followed by a wedding reception. Music, poetry, prayers or readings from religious texts or literature are also commonly incorporated into the ceremony.
A number of cultures have adopted the traditional Western custom of the white wedding, in which a bride wears a white wedding dress and veil. This tradition was popularized through the wedding of Queen Victoria. Some say Victoria's choice of a white gown may have simply been a sign of extravagance, but may have also been influenced by the values she held which emphasized sexual purity.Within the modern 'white wedding' tradition, a white dress and veil are unusual choices for a woman's second or subsequent wedding. The notion that a white gown might symbolize sexual purity has been long abandoned, and is criticized by etiquette writers like Judith Martin as distasteful.
The use of a wedding ring has long been part of religious weddings in Europe and America, but the origin of the tradition is unclear. Historians like Vicki Howard point out that belief in the "ancient" quality of the practice are most likely a modern invention. "Double ring" ceremonies are also a modern practice, a groom's wedding band not appearing in the United States until the early 20th century.
The wedding is often followed by a reception or wedding breakfast, in which the rituals may include speeches from the groom, best man, father of the bride and possibly the bride,the newlyweds first dance as spouses, and the cutting of a wedding cake.
It is the Shwe Shwe material that ensures the unmistakable traditional look even on the most modern African dress designs. The material has its roots in Southern Africa far back into history with indigo dyed material traded along the East coast. In more recent times the modern indigo dyes and acid printing techniques of German settlers and traders developed the traditional love for the material into the modern age with exclusive factories in Germany and England specially set up to supply South Africa with the Shwe Shwe cloth. The demand for this traditional material in southern Africa led to the exclusive rights for manufacture being obtained by a South African manufacturer who brought the printing and dying machines over from Europe to set up the exclusive rights in South Africa. Da Gama textiles still hold the exclusive rights to produce the original shwe shwe material and do so for the world market. The original indigo colour has been supplemented with a deep brown and a vibrant red. Discerning clients who know the secrets of the traditional material always look for the three cats or three leopard logo that confirms the genuine shwe shwe article.