Customs and Traditions in the Modern World

Phoenix NACE March 2015

Customs and Traditions in the Modern World

Tradition as defined by Merriam-Webster

1 a :  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)

b :  a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable

2 :  the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction

3 :  cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions

4:  characteristic manner, method, or style tradition> 

Traditions, as you can tell, are a great way for people to hand down their beliefs and customs. By learning the different traditions  of our various clients, we can make them feel more comfortable with us because we are able to ‘speak the same language’ to a certain degree. 

Here are 5 quick ‘traditions’ for each of several different communities that will help you understand their traditions better and ‘talk the talk’. 


Mitzvahs: .Bar Mitzvah (Boy), Bat Mitzvah or Bas Mitzvah (Girl) 

  1.        Father/Gandfather/Uncle…..Says the prayer for challah and wine….Mother/Grandmother/Aunts light Shabbat candles at the Friday night services.
  2.        Dancing The Hora and Lifting the boy/girl in a chair….this is usually extended to siblings and parents…could be a lot of chair lifting.
  3.        Candle Lighting, family and close friends are honored by lighting a candle.  There typically are 13 candles to light.
  4.         Reception is usually themed, chosen by the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child…..they are now adults!   
  5.         Tallit, prayer shawl is given from the parent or grandparent, usually handed down from generation to generation, during the Saturday morning service to symbolize adulthood.

Jewish Weddings 

  1.         Chuppah – is a canopy under which the couple stand during the wedding ceremony. Representing their first home together.  Parents stand on either side.
  2.         Ketubah – Jewish Wedding Contract.  Signed privately before the ceremony with the rabbi and two witnesses.  The ketubah is on display at the ceremony and reception..
  3.         Dancing The Hora and Lifting the newly married couple on two chairs…this is not extended to the rest of the family.
  4.         2 glasses of wine to drink under the chuppah (use white wine) and a glass to break.  The glass to break is wrapped in a cloth napkin; it usually is a light bulb, because it’s thinner glass.
  5.        Head coverings for the men during the ceremony.  They are called yahmalkahs or kippahs.

For more information, contact: Lee Goldstein-Holcomb or   (480) 361-3610 (office), (480) 773-5123 (Lee), (480)710-5602 (Rich)  See ya soon.

and if you’re looking for a Rabbi for either Mitzvahs or Jewish weddings, we recommend Rabbi Meir Goldstein  (480) 991-9141 

Hindu Weddings

  1.          Mehendhi or Mehndhi- Henna party for the women. This is usually held a few days prior to the wedding and is like a huge dance/bridal shower, but without the gifts.
  2.          Mandap- a four-posted structure that the ceremony is held under. The four posts represent the support that the parents will be giving the new couple
  3.          Haven or Hoven- this is the ‘oven’ that the ‘holy fire’ is in. most Mandaps are open at the top so that the holy fire can be witness to the marriage and that the smoke can leave up to the sky.  Note: if a ceremony will be held inside, I recommend that you let the fire department know that you will be having this small fire inside. It is very small since the haven is only about 15 inches across.
  4.          Sangeet or Garba- this is a dance which takes the place of a rehearsal dinner. usually very vibrant colors, loud and full of fun. traditionally this was for women, but in the USA is generally for all the wedding participants
  5.          Traditional Indian food is usually served. If you have a location that does not offer an Indian Chef, they will usually have the food catered in.  Some venues will allow the traditional catering to be brought in and they charge a room fee or a per person use fee that includes china, glassware, flatware linens and service staff.

For more information, contact: Ginia Lucas, MWV 480-967-4495 I’d love to help you get more Southeast Asian business!


  1.          The Quincé girl will have a big ball gown and a tiara or ’Corona’, signifying that she is the ‘princess’ of the family. She will also be given a rosary and a locket by her family.
  2.          Family and Friends ‘Sponsor’ different portion of the event, so it spreads out the cost between all of the family. These Sponsors are called ‘Padrinos’. EXAMPLES: one padrino might pay for the cake,another might pay for the dress etc. As a planner, this is a little harder to keep track of, have a great spreadsheet
  3.          She will have a ‘Corte de Honor’ or honor court of 14 boys or ‘Chambelains’ and sometimes  14 girls as well.
  4.          Prior to the reception, The Quincé girl wears flat shoes, sometimes sneakers, and during the reception her dad will give her her first pair of high heels, signifying that she is now a ‘woman’
  5.          Get Security! There are a lot of Teenagers and they might try to get alcoholic beverages, etc. 

For More information contact: Fran Chavez, Quinceaneras Magazine Director Phoenix 623-694-9910

LGBTQA Weddings 

  1.          LGBTQA signifies Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, trans sexual, Queer and Ally. Allies are not personally LGBTQ, but are allies to the LGBTQ community
  2.          Remember! It’s just a wedding! It will have many if not all of the same traditions as any other wedding
  3.          Don’t refer to all clients as ‘brides';
  4.          Use Inclusive and appropriate terminology in your marketing Such as:  Spouses.Brides, Grooms, Partners, Significant other or bride/groom ( as a single word)
  5.          Modern Union Traditions might have such things as:  multiple aisles, or waking down the aisle together, Co-ed wedding parties, Blackbook toss instead of the garter or tossing two bouquets 

For more information contact: Cicely Rocha.Miller 480-993- 7932 

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