No one can say that Jewish receptions are dull and un-exciting. On the opposite, these celebrations are extremely grandiose and filled with a variety of festive rituals that date from quite a long while back. From the blessing of the Challah to the breaking of the glass or even the world-famous chair dance, Jewish receptions are all about spirituality, love, merriment and a deep sense of family and belonging. As soon as the official wedding ceremony is over, the bride and the groom both retreat to a room for some alone time together. Afterwards, they emerge for a highly festive reception ceremony.
One of the main and most coveted tradition which is present in nearly all Jewish reception is the “S’eudah Mitzvah.” This ritual mainly dictates that fertility-inducing dishes are served at the after-wedding party. These includes a variety of Kosher treats, couscous, salmon, tuna sushi, roast meat, chicken, artichoke and the likes. Desserts are usually dairy-based and crafted from almonds, coconut milk, pistachios, almonds, raisins, dates and the likes. Since the bride and the groom usually fast for a few days before the wedding, an extremely elaborate feast is prepared for them.
However, before the feast begins, the newly-weds and the guests- under the supervision of a Rabbi- opens the reception with the Blessing of the Challah. This tradition is centered around an intricately braided bread which the guests share before starting the meal. Either the couple’s close relatives or a select guest can accompany the Rabbi during the Blessing of the Challah.
Afterwards, the feast ends with another tradition known as the Birkat Hamazon. After the meal, several wedding blessings are repeated in another prayer session. Prayer books are distributed among the guests and religious leaders usually preside over the blessing ceremony. Then, the couple pours two glasses of wine into a single one, hence representing the start of a new life together.
Another extremely fun Jewish wedding reception ritual is the “Hora”.Also known as the chair dance, the “Hora” is a tradition whereby several guests gather around to lift the bride and the groom above their heads in their chairs. Quite similar to a wild crowd-surfing, the bride and groom are repeatedly bounced up and down as they struggle to keep their balance. Rhythmic Jewish folklore songs such as “Hava Nagila” are often played during the chair dance. Afterwards, the newlywed couple sits on an elevated platform or stage while their guests dance for their entertainment. To add a touch of infectious humor to the dances, some friends also dress up in humorous costumes and masks.