American Indian Traditional Wedding Gifts

Written by melissa sherrard
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American Indian Traditional Wedding Gifts
Turqouise jewellery and other ornaments are traditional wedding gifts among Native Americans. (native American bracelet image by Joy Fera from Fotolia.com)

The many indigenous tribes of North America each have their own customs and traditions when it comes to weddings, ceremonies and giving gifts. Some gift-giving traditions are common among weddings of many Native Americans, while others are practised by specific tribes or regions. Consider giving one of these traditional American Indian wedding gifts to a Native American who's getting married in the not-so-distant future.

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Dream Catcher

Dream catchers have been given as wedding gifts among Native Americans for centuries, as they good luck tokens and often used in the ceremony before being placed over the couple's bed to catch bad dreams and evil spirits. In many traditional American Indian wedding ceremonies, the priest or official will hold a dream catcher over the couple as the final blessing is read over their marriage. Many dream catchers feature intricate bead work, feathers and colours found in nature, and giving one as a wedding gift to a Native American friend or family member would follow tradition.

Clothing

Many Native American tribes, including the Delaware and Hopi Indians, gave gifts of clothing to the bride, groom and their families as wedding gifts. This makes presenting such items of traditional clothing attire appropriate at Native American weddings. For instance, gift options include white or leather dresses for brides, beaded chest plates for grooms and other clothing items featuring the colours white (to represent the east), yellow (for the west), black (for the north) and blue (for the south). Leather moccasins, wampum belts and decorative maize wreaths, which represent fertility, are other clothing items traditionally given among American Indians as wedding gifts.

Jewellery

Pieces of jewellery are common gifts items of Native American marriage ceremonies. Jewellery featuring natural colours and materials such as stones, bone and wood was traditionally made by friends and family members to bestow good luck, prosperity and protection from evil spirits upon a newly married couple, and they remain popular wedding gifts to give Native American Indians. Jewellery and other ornaments made of beads, such as breastplates or belts, are also traditional wedding gifts appropriate for Native American men and women.

Wedding Vase

Wedding vases are traditionally used by American Indian tribes of the Southwest, but because of the symbolic ties to nature these items represent in a marriage ceremony, giving a wedding vase as a gift has been adopted by Native Americans across the continent. These clay vases feature two spouts that lead to the same base, and during the marriage ceremony the bride and groom will drink from the vase in turn from their designated spout. The act symbolises the joining of two individuals to make a new life, and the wedding vase can be used for a variety of purposes in the home after the wedding, even if it isn't used in the ceremony.

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