I’ll write about Japanese traditional wedding ceremony. Especially, I’ll focus on Japanese women’s clothes or accessories for the traditional wedding ceremony. And I’m going to talk about the origins of those traditional things.
This is the typical Japanese women’s style called shiromuku.(白無垢) for traditional wedding ceremony . Brides at the wedding in shrines always wear white clothes like the woman shown in the photo. As you can see in the picture, everything including inner wears is pure white. Not only their clothes, but also their accessories such as hats, shoes and pouches are all white. Why Japanese brides have such custom to be covered with only white things on a day of wedding ceremony? It’s because “white” has been regarded by Japanese people as a symbol of pureness, cleanness or virginity. “White” can be dyed with any color, so shiromuku means that brides are ready to be dyed with color of groom. “White” has also been regarded as a sacred color for many years, so Japanese people have believed shiromuku to be suitable for the wedding ceremony held at sacred and religous places.
The white hats called wataboshi(綿帽子) or tsunokakushi(角隠し) is one of the essential parts of shiromuku. It is said that wataboshi is worn during the wedding ceremony and tsunokakushi is worn for wedding reception(結婚披露宴: kekkonhirouen) held after the ceremony. However, there are no special differences between those two hats today and brides usually can choose whichever they like. There are a lot of theories about the origin of those hats, but we can’t tell which is true. It’s not clear. One says that tsunokakushi(角: horn, 隠し: cover) has a meaning that brides become obedient to their grooms by covering brides’ heads which is considered to have horns like demons(鬼: oni) which symbolize anger. And another says that those hats are used to hide women’s long hair where bad spirits are considered to exist. There are also many other origins such as the traditional custom to hide women’s face from any other people except her grooms, the traditional clothes to avoid dust and so on.
Except tsunokakushi, there are other accessories which are important for Shiromuku style. In their bosoms, brides have a small sword (懐刀: futokorogatana) and a small box (箱迫: hakoseko) with a hand mirror or comb in it. They have a gold or silver fan(扇子: sensu) shown in the left picture and wear a pair of white slippers(草履: zouri). Those are all included in the traditional Shiromuku style.