Abruzzo Wedding Traditions: Add Some Local Touches To Your Own Wedding
Adding some elements of the Abruzzo wedding traditions is a nice way to remember your roots and the origins of your family,
I already imagine the amusement and the emotions of your relatives the moment they will recognize those elements that will bring them back to other weddings of the past, that they took part to when they were younger and perhaps still living in Italy!
Abruzzo wedding traditions were very rich in the past: the wedding was a very important moment in the life of people, both a private and a social event that involved not only the families, but also the whole community (a community that was often little, corresponding to the village where the newlyweds lived).
Some of these traditions are too connected with the kind of life and economy there were dominant in the past to be replicated today in modern wedding: luckily couples are independent nowadays and there is no need for the future husband to ask for the hand of his beloved ones, and families don’t have to meet to discuss the economic agreement connected to the wedding!
Yes, because one of the most important elements of a wedding, the one that could make the family of the groom accept the bride, was the dowry she could bring with her! And every single item of the dowry was listed into a legal document with the indication of its precise economic value!
The dowry was then publicly exposed, and in some villages it was also paraded along the streets, while it was taken to the newlywed’s house!
My grannie used to tell me about her friends who lived in the villages, who still used to make their own trousseau by themselves: they knew how to weave, embroider, crochet and sew! How clever they were!
Do you imagine anything of the kind NOW?
Luckily there are no economic interests that can prevent your and your fiancé from being together, your own personal value does not depend on the amount of dowry you have, or on your ability to weave fine pieces of cloth!
And the parade of blankets and sheets is limited to very picturesque and charming local reenactments in traditional costumes, such as the “dodda” in the village of Villetta Barrea (I will tell you about it one day or another).
Abruzzo wedding traditions: the trousseau (and local handicrafts)
During the years some customs and ways of thinking have ceased to exist, but others lasted longer, such as the trousseau, for example. I remember that the presents I received by my relatives for my First Communion were mainly… trousseau items! Yes, I mean sheets, tablecloths, bath towels, a lot of bath towels! And we were in the late 80s, not in 1950!
I have to admit I envied a lot my male schoolmates, who received much cooler presents such as watches, stereos, and so on! But a nine-year girl is not supposed to understand the value of a set of dishcloths, is she?
But I must say that now that I am grown up, I appreciate more those things, and the value of such handmade items, that require a lot of patience, attention, creativity, taste, and technical skills! And if you are a bit like me, you, too, love the beauty of these things and their warm, homey feel.
Luckily these ancient skills have survived in towns and villages, where beautiful products are still made today: the wooden blankets of Taranta Peligna, the refined bobbin lace of Scanno, wool and knitwear made and dyed according to ancient, 100% natural techniques in the province of L’Aquila, and many others.
So, even if perhaps you don’t have a real trousseau, and embroidered sheets are not your cup of tea, coming in Abruzzo for your wedding could be the occasion to to see these splendid products first-hand and, why not?, enrich your new house and your new life as a couple with something that will always remind you of the wonderful adventure of your wedding day in the region of your heart!
One of the Abruzzo wedding traditions that you can easily add into your wedding is the gift of the presentosa.
It is a typical jewel in gold filigree, produced mainly by the skilful goldsmiths of Guardiagrele, Pescocostanzo, Scanno, L’Aquila and Sulmona, representing a star with one or two hearts (or other symbols but are less common) at the centre.
The name presentosa comes from presente, that is present, gift. This jewel was actually given as a present to girls, and in particular the one with a single heart was given to the girls of marrying age, usually by their parents.
When a girl got engaged, she received the presentosa with two hearts, usually by her in-laws. The one with two hearts connected by a half moon was a typical gift for the wedding.
So, you can always find a good occasion to receive such a wonderful gift, can’t you? The tradition is actually a bit lost nowadays, but it would be great to make it live again for your wedding!
I must say I’ve always found the presentosa extremely beautiful and never out of date. There are many goldsmiths who still create these jewels with great ability, both in the traditional fashions that in more modern versions… and if you cannot wait to be in Abruzzo to get one, well, there are also e-shops nowadays where to purchase it!
Here is another veeeery romantic gesture that your future husband can do for you… and this one can be easily organized during your stay, as it has to take place just a few days before the wedding, or on the night before: the serenade!
(I have already written about it HERE)
Traditionally, the groom and some friends of his gather at night under the bride’s window to sing traditional songs. They can be accompanied by other musicians, and sometimes the bride’s father joins them to sing songs about his sadness as his beloved daughter is about to leave his house forever.
The bride is supposed to appear at the window showing the utmost surprise – of course! – but then joins the group downstairs, together with the rest of the family.
The party goes on with toasts, sometimes even a buffet! Yes, we always find an excuse to celebrate with food and wine!!!
This is an amazing tradition to incorporate in your wedding, don’t you find?
I hope you’ll agree, because I cannot wait to organize it! If your future husband and your friends are good at singing, it will be perfect, but if you want a REAL Abruzzo serenade, I can help you find professional musicians to sing the traditional songs for you.
But, remember: you’ll have to look surprised!!!
A wedding in Abruzzo is not a real wedding without confetti!
Called in dialect li cumbitt’ (perhaps you’ve heard them called like that!), these are the typical sugared almonds that the spouses traditionally offer their guests.
They are common almost everywhere in Italy, but here in Abruzzo we feel a particular love for these delicious sweets, as there is one of the most important centres of productionf: Sulmona.
Many of the local confetti factories dates back to more than a century ago and belong to the same families from generations.
Together with the classic version (only almond and sugar coating) nowadays there are other kinds called ciocomandorla, that have also a layer of flavoured chocolate: the paradise of chocolate lovers!
If you want to offer your guests these delicious confetti, you have two ways.
1) Packed in little boxes or tulle bags, decorated with ribbons and other ornaments: according to the tradition there must be five confetti, as they represent five virtues that the spouses wish to have during their married life: health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.
2) With the confettata, that is a sort of sweet table: your guests will help themselves with confetti and ciocomandola of different flavours, and I am sure they will be extremely happy to do that! The confettata is a more recent trend, as ciocomandorla have been produced only in these last years, but in the past it was common all the same to keep silver bowls full of confetti on a table with the same purpose.
Whatever you choose, I can help you prepare everything, so that you can enjoy our delicious confetti alltogether!
Do you like these aspects of the Abruzzo wedding traditions? What are the elements you prefer most? Is there anything you would like to include in your own wedding?
Just let me know, and I will help you plan it, find the right vendors, even organize for you the visits to the local artisans, to see their precious works directly!
And if you want to know the peculiarities of the wedding reception in Abruzzo, so to make your own even more “Italian style”, you cannot miss my Little Guide To Weddings In Italy!
Fill in the form below and you will receive it the pdf for free!
Cover photo: Fibre di Luce