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Wedding Traditions from Around the World

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There is no denying that the American wedding is a formidable beast, boasting a bevy of quirky traditions that practically defy explanation. (Though you can watch us try by reading Monday's post about the bizarre origins of eight wedding customs.) But we'd be remiss to let you think that Anglo-Saxons have the monopoly on wacky wedding rituals. Thus, we present to you here a quick round up of matrimonial mores from cultures around the world.

Iran, Syria, Turkey and India

During a traditional wedding ceremony in these countries, the bride and groom jostle for a chance to step on each other's toes. The first to get off a solid stomp on their beloved's foot will supposedly be the "boss" in the marriage. Note to all Iranian, Syrian, Turkish and Indian grooms: Let the lady have this one. Gender subtext aside, there is a far more important issue at stake here—never mess with a woman's wedding shoes. One thoughtless smudge could mean the difference between lifelong happiness and a never-ending world of pain. Think before you step.

Switzerland

Swiss bridesmaids take part in the tradition of throwing colored handkerchiefs at the wedding guests. Any guest who catches one is then expected to give the bride and groom money. What, the sterling silver gravy boat and matching sorbet spoons I got you weren't enough? We American couples have a slightly more subtle way of getting guests to dole out straight cash—checking the "˜Gift Cards are Welcome' option on your wedding registry.

Korea

wedding-ducks.jpgGrooms in Korea will ask one of their successfully married buddies to carve them two small wooden ducks and bequeath them as a wedding gift, thus bringing good luck for him and his new bride. One has to wonder, though: how many of those little wooden suckers to you think get re-gifted to the next bride and groom who come a knockin'? "Hmm"¦ do I want to risk my own digits attempting to crudely carve a new pair of ducks, or do I just whip out the ones we've been "˜storing' under the bathroom sink since we got married? That's a toughie."

France

During the reception at some French weddings, guests will drop cake and bites of food from the wedding feast into a centrally located chamber pot and top it off with a generous pour from a few celebratory beverages. The resulting concoction is then to be imbibed by the bride and groom. We threw up a little just writing this.

Greece

"¢ A bride in the Greek countryside will celebrate her marriage by plopping a young boy on her lap and then ceremoniously placing an edible, baked biscuit ring around his neck. If shopping mall Santas are any indication, we have to assume that what happens next involves spontaneous crying and the painful extrication of candy cane from the bride's hair. Good news is that it will probably yield at least a few "Aww"-worthy photos.

"¢ After the wedding, the bride throws a ripe pomegranate at a door covered in honey. If seeds from the fruit stick to the door, it is believed to be a sign that the couple will be very fertile and be blessed with many children. Our question is this: upon completing this ceremonial act, would it be uncouth for the bride to then touch her finger to her nose and yell "Not it!"? Because we have to assume that a door covered in honey and pomegranate juice is no easy clean-up job. Though perhaps it would be good practice for the variety of sticky, gooey messes that will undoubtedly be made by the many future children they will apparently be having.

Russia

"¢ During the wedding reception, friends of the newlyweds will "kidnap" the bride and hold her for ransom. It is the duty of the groom to notice she is missing and then negotiate the payment for her safe return. While we assume that this is all done in jest, and the bride will likely never come to any real harm, we can't say the same for any groom who takes a little too long to notice her absence. God hath no wrath like a woman locked in captivity while wearing a corset bra.

"¢ On the second day of revelry for a Russian wedding, any guests, friends or family that are still around soaking up the fun will take part in the tradition of scattering money around a room. Once the floor is covered in cash, the bride is instructed to grab a broom and get to work sweeping it up. Upon scooping up the last of the spare change, the bride counts up her haul and then exclaims, "Oh come on people. We paid for a frickin' five-hour open bar. Pony up!"

Jenn Thompson is a freelance writer for publications including Charlotte Magazine, Weddings Unveiled, and The Atlantan. Superstar researcher Kathleen Pierce helped dig up these traditions.

Yesterday: weird wedding laws still on the books. Monday: bizarre origins of wedding traditions. Next Week: a celebrity wedding quiz.

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Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

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Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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