How hen parties are celebrated around the world – from Scotland to India
Hen parties normally mean mayhem.
Cue: barely-there dresses made out of toilet paper, dancing on tabletops at three in the morning, downing champagne like it’s going out of fashion and knocking back tequila shots like hangovers don’t exist. And that’s before you’ve even mentioned the mother-in-law flirting with the half-naked stripper.
Bachelorette parties have become a right of passage for many brides. And there are many different traditions across the globe. So without further ado, here are a few of the wacky and wonderful pre-wedding traditions from around the world...
Scotland - Bride blackening
As the inventors of Irn Bru, it should come as no surprise that their hen party traditions are out there. Bride blackening, which normally takes place in the days or weeks before the wedding, involves covering the bride in treacle, soot and flour, then showering her in feathers. It’s said that it will ward off evil spirits, and sometimes the groom is smeared too.
Romania - Bride-napping
In Romania, the bride’s friends save all of their raucous antics for the wedding night itself. They abduct the main lady, taking her to a secret location, and make the groom barter for her release.
This usually comes with the promise of a shedload of alcohol, or a grand declaration of love. In recent years, Bucharest’s Arc de Triomphe has become a magnet for stolen brides, who pass their time as captives by singing, dancing and staging mini photoshoots with the captor's weaponry.
Germany - Polterabend
This is not exactly the same as a bachelorette party. But, Germans celebrate the Polterabend party the night before the wedding, and it sees guests break porcelain - traditionally in front of the bride’s house. I'm sure you know that old adage that "shards bring luck"?
Making a massive mess and a lot of noise are bot encouraged. And, with true German efficiency, the couple must clear up the debris together. How's that for teamwork?
South Africa - Kitchen Tea
While the debauched hen parties we all know have caught on in South Africa, there’s still room for the traditional Kitchen Tea.
In the past, this event saw women gifting the bride useful household items in preparation for their new life. Nowadays, it’s more about coming together to eat cake, quaff tea and play silly games. Not only is there substantially less chance of doing something you regret, you don’t have to watch out for your granny getting handsy with the stripper, either. Win-win.
India - Mehndi Ceremony
In India, Mehndi ceremonies date back as far back as the 15th century. And they have been dubbed the “world’s original bridal shower”. They usually take place at the bride's home the night before the wedding ceremony. They're not only chance to get all prepped for the big day - it is said that the deeper the colour of the mehndi design, the happier the couple will be - but also for the bride to dance and sing with her gal pals.
And while the world and his wife may be invited to the wedding ceremony, Mehndi ceremonies have much smaller guest lists - it’s an honour to be invited!
Central China - Crying Tradition
Central China has the crying tradition in lieu of hen parties. What happens is, the bride begins to cry, then her mother joins in, and then the grandmother follows suit. Even aunts and sisters are known to shed some tears! Oh, and this can go on for weeks...
Argentina - The Naked Bride
And it doesn't stop there. Argentina has a rather unusual tradition. It involves driving the bride around town, completely naked. This is all to announce to the world that she's soon to be a taken woman.
Mauritania - The Fattening Ceremony
And in Mauritania, we have something that involves literally fattening up the bride. In the lead up to her wedding, the bride is force-fed by her family members. I mean. that's quite a break from western traditions, no?
Canada - The Stag and Doe Party
And for the last in this series, we present the bachelorette proceedings in Canada. The Stag and Doe party is a little different from what we've seen before, however. It's primarily a fundraising event, held to financially support the wedding in question. Super wholesome.
So there we have it, proof that you don't necessarily need to be throwing sambucca down your throat in order to have a night to remember.
And at the end of the day - whether you're a kitchen tea kind of lady, or you think you could handle a spot of Scottish-inspired blackening - one thing is universal, and that's that all you really need for a top night is your favourite girls. That said, bride-napping does look like a lot of fun...