You may have attended a wedding where the couple broke glass during their marriage ceremony. If you are not familiar with this tradition, you may have wondered where it comes from.
In Italy, many newlyweds smash glass, typically by stepping on it. The number of pieces the glassware breaks into symbolizes the number of years the couple will be happily married, according to Martha Stewart. This is often accompanied by a chant of “per cent’anni,” which mean “for a hundred years!”
Jewish marriage ceremonies also typically involve breaking glass.
At some point during the marriage ceremony, which varies depending on the temple and tradition, the couple stomp on a glass wrapped in cloth and placed on the ground under the chuppah, aka bridal canopy. The congregation shouts “mazal tov!” in congratulations, according to Insider.
The reason Jewish couples break a glass during the wedding ceremony is to remember the destruction of the Jewish temples. It is a ritual that tempers that happiness of the occasion and allows for a moment of reflection, Insider says.
Bottom line: If you are Italian or Jewish, you may want to consider the breaking glass tradition to honor your heritage. If not, be aware that some may consider the act inappropriate due to cultural appropriation.