For centuries, the fate of a wedding date was determined by a village shaman. From Roman astrologers and Greek soothsayers to Jewish mystics and Chinese fortune-tellers, these wise spiritual leaders used every method—ranging from pig intestines to the stars—to divine the luckiest day for a couple to start their new journey together.
While most modern wedding dates result from such practical reasons as location, climate, and venue availability, dozens of cultures throughout the world continue to rely on age-old traditions that help them choose a lucky wedding date—and there are also several religious taboo days for holding a wedding that couples must sensitively avoid!
For more than 5,000 years, Chinese fortune-tellers have consulted the Tung Shing to ensure couples are a perfect match for each other as well as to select an auspicious wedding date and time. This ancient astrological calendar, which is crafted according to moon phases, tides, and star alignments, provides signs of fortune or adversity at specific times.
You can expect marriages to skyrocket during the lunar Year of the Sheep, for instance. This emotional sign, which is the eighth in the Chinese zodiac, signals a fortuitous year filled with romance, exploration, wisdom, and prosperity. It is a time to focus on family, to make amends, and move forward on new journeys in life. It is also a Yin Wood year, which ushers in growth and harmony, and the associated lucky color is green.
Depending on the individual birth dates of the couple, there are dozens of auspicious wedding days to get married. To find your wedding date according to the Chinese calendar, you can purchase the current version of the Tung Shing or download the free iTunes app.
The Koyomi might hold little sway in the everyday life of modern Japanese society, but the ancient astrological calendar is still consulted to determine the best days to mail the wedding invitation and to tie the knot. Spring and autumn weddings are the most popular, and most marriages are scheduled for a Sunday or national holiday when businesses are closed. The problem is that few lucky wedding days—either a Taian or Tomobiki—fall during this time, so venues book up quickly after the new lunisolar calendar is released on January 1.
It might sound complicated, but Taian and Tomobiki days are actually easy to calculate. Sensho, a day that offers good luck before noon, begins with January 1. The next day is Tomobiki, a good day for weddings, while the following day, Senbu, presents good luck afternoon. The fourth day, Butsemetsu, is the most unlucky day because it is the day Buddha died. With many Shinto shrines closed for the day, weddings rarely take place. The lucky fifth day, Taian, is the most popular choice for weddings, and the sixth day, Shakko, only provides two favorable hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
These six rokuyo days rotate each month so that the sequence starts with Tomobiki on February 1, Senbu on March 1 and so forth. The pattern repeats itself during the second half of the year, from July through December.
Mostly humoring their parents, these days young Hindu couples tag along as they consult the Jyotish before choosing a marriage date. Factoring in the couple's complex 36-point birth charts and the location of the wedding, the astrologer uses the Panchangam, the Hindu astrological calendar, to determine the most auspicious wedding day.
The Panchangam actually provides more lucky days in less time than the Tung Shing since holding a Hindu wedding during Chaturmas is taboo. The sacred rainy season months are devoted to prayer, penance and participating in numerous festivals as the gods take their annual rest, known as the Yoga Nidra.
Spring and summer weddings are favored in the Jewish culture, but finding a suitable date that is also auspicious is complicated. As a mandated day of rest, Jewish weddings are not scheduled on Shabbat from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. However, simple ceremonies that conclude before nightfall on Friday are permitted. Since preparations cannot take place until Shabbat is over, hosting a Saturday night wedding is tricky.
Getting married on Sunday as well as Tuesday, which is deemed a doubly good day, is believed to bless the marriage with happiness and prosperity. It is also considered lucky to tie the knot under the waxing moon, which occurs during the first 15 days of each month. The entire months of February and December are propitious as are the four days following Yom Kippur.
Religious directives require full participation in the joy of the holidays. As a result, weddings are restricted from taking place the day before or on a major Jewish holiday as well as during the 49-day Counting of Omar between Passover and Shavuot in March and the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Jewish marriage ceremonies are also forbidden during the numerous fasting days that occur throughout the year as well as the three weeks preceding Tisha B'Av.