Among the wedding symbols, which are known to be very powerful is the wedding cake. It has even been rated third after the bride’s banquet and the wedding dress. As the majority of people still believe that the cake has been a part of any wedding ceremony from the historical times, there are some traditions that are attached to this practice, which may not be familiar to many. This paper discuses the history of the wedding cake and the ceremonial parts of the wedding cake as well as the traditional and cultural differences of wedding cakes.
Cakes have been incorporated as an important aspect of any wedding since the time of the Roman Empire. It has been used to traditionally symbolize various things with such aspects like its braking and color, having various meanings. This write up will examine the history, the ceremonial parts as well as the traditional and cultural differences of wedding cakes.
The History of the Wedding Cake
According to Kabel (2006), the origin of the wedding cake dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. During this time, ceremonies were characterized by baked loaves of bread made of barley. The groom used to take a portion of the bread while breaking the remaining piece over the head of the bride. The wedding cake majorly gained its popularity by the late 19th century when it replaced the pies as a cultural symbol leading to such concepts as the bridal cake and bridesmaid, as well as the bridegroom. The most common form of cakes during this time was a plum cake, though it was later replaced by the very first multi-tiered cake.
Ceremonial Parts of a Wedding Cake
The wedding cake has increasingly been incorporated in different parts of the world as a very important part of the wedding ceremony. According to Cagil (2006), the cake represents the delicacy and the style as well as the elegant way in which the couple have been brought up. It also symbolizes how enthusiastic the couples are as they marry. Equally, the cutting of the cake has also been identified as a ceremony of its own kind. This begins by having the bridge and the groom helping each other in the cutting of the cake followed by them feeding one another. The occasion is normally celebratory as it is marked with loud applauses from the congregation. In certain cases, couples have kept their top tier to be used during their first anniversary or as they celebrate the birth of their first born.
Traditional and Cultural Differences of Wedding Cakes
A number of traditions have been associated with the wedding cake right from the Roman times. First, Gilbert (2004) noted that the breaking of the cake over the head of the bride meant that the hymen had broken and that the groom had attained a dominant position over the bride. The practice continued in some parts like Scotland where a napkin would be placed by bride’s friends on her head followed by the pouring of bread.
Additionally, the white color is common with most wedding cakes and symbolizes purity. The color was equally associated with the bride to put emphasis on the bride as the major focus of the wedding and to provide a linkage between the bridge and the cake. Another tradition is the cutting of the cake which is always done through a joint effort of the bride and the groom as a symbol of the first task that is performed by the new couple. Additionally, the two first feed one another the pieces as a symbol of their commitment to provide for one another.
Another tradition involves the giving of pieces of cakes as gifts. This practice started during the period of the Roman Empire. Cagil (2004) notes that this was initially accomplished by having the guests grabbing the pieces of cake that had fallen on the ground. It was understood that this would catalyze fertility. It was also believed that whoever sleeps with a piece of the wedding cake under her/his pillow would have a dream of the person who would be their spouse. Other people also save the top tier of the wedding cake to be used in the christening of the expected child. This was meant to link the two ceremonies in the same way in which the cakes were linked.
It is, thus, clear that since the beginning of its use, the wedding cake has remained a very important component of any wedding celebration with the peak of the celebration being witnessed during its cutting.