Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Nicola Harrington

Véronique invited me to join her and her mother for coffee this morning.

Véronique has been with her partner for ten years, they have two children together but they have never married.

It is clear to one and all that Véronique and Lionel have an extremely strong relationship. It is not long before Veronique’s mother gets round to the subject of marriage.

“You are married, aren’t you Nicole? I just don’t understand Véronique. Will you be watching Prince William and Kate’s wedding? When I was young we had the most fabulous weddings, traditionally held on a Tuesday: midweek weddings”.

“Mother, they went on for a week!” Véronique retorted.

“A week!” I said.

Why hold a wedding on a Tuesday? 1

“Why, of course, Véronique’s mother replied, “weddings were always held on a Tuesday. There was so much to arrange” she said wistfully. “Of course, the whole village attended a wedding and all surrounding villages too. There were 800 people at my wedding. On the Saturday, the men collected all the tables and benches from neighbours, friends, and family. The women started to cook the Pot au feu. Sunday, there was a small meal so that the close family could try the Pot au feu.

All the vegetables and salads were prepared on the Sunday. Meanwhile, the men prepared two huge fires to roast the cows: we had two whole cows at my wedding. Monday, we laid the tables and did the final preparations. Tuesday the wedding. Everyone brought their own knife, fork, spoon, plate, and glass. Wednesday, the celebrations continued for close friends and family. Thursday and Friday were spent clearing up and returning all the tables and benches.”

“And you wonder why I don’t want to get married!” Véronique said, smiling.

“It would be rather fun”, I say, as Veronique throws a tea towel at me.

“I bet Prince William and Kate’s guests won’t need to bring their own cutlery!” Véronique’s mother chuckled.

Wedding in the 1950s

Editor’s Note:

In traditional French culture, weddings were often celebrated on a Tuesday for practical and superstitious reasons. Historically, the choice of wedding day was influenced by various factors, including work schedules, market days, and religious beliefs

  1. Agricultural Society: France, like many European countries, was predominantly agricultural for centuries. In such societies, the work schedule was dictated by the needs of the farm or the village. Tuesdays could have been seen as an optimal day because it allowed families and guests to attend the wedding without interfering with the busiest days of the week for farming or market activities, which often took place at the end of the week or on weekends.
  2. Market Days: In many rural areas, certain days of the week were designated as market days, which were crucial for the community’s economy. Holding a wedding on a non-market day would ensure that both the wedding party and the guests wouldn’t conflict with their market responsibilities, making Tuesday a suitable choice.
  3. Religious and Superstitious Beliefs: Tuesday, being a few days after Sunday (the Lord’s Day in Christianity), could have been considered an auspicious day to hold a wedding, following a day of rest and worship. Additionally, various superstitions and folk beliefs might have attributed specific qualities or luck to different days of the week for significant events like weddings.

It’s important to note that practices could vary significantly from one region to another and over different historical periods. The choice of wedding day would have been influenced by a complex interplay of social, economic, religious, and cultural factors.

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