Midnight Weddings?


“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
… As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
… the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut."

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
(John 2:1-2)

Several observations and several questions concerning Jewish wedding customs: :hmmm:

[list=1]*]They needed lamps, so weddings were held at night. My first question is, Were bible era weddings sometimes held in the day?
*]The marriage feast on this occasion was after midnight. Was it more common to have the feast early evening?
*]In the case of the Cana wedding, Jesus and his mother gathered at the wedding on the third day. Were they likely to have had the feast Monday evening? Tuesday daytime? or Tuesday evening? [/list]

Thanks for any thoughts. :slight_smile:


I’m not sure about the time of the day or days of the weeks for weddings but here are the basics of a Jewish wedding ceremony.

The passages discuss the aspect of Jewish wedding known as the nissuin which means to “to carry.” This was the wedding ceremony itself, after the period of betrothal when the bridgroom would arrive to carry off his bride to her new home.

The guests would gather with the bride at her Father’s house but the bridegroom would not show up until later. The exact time of the arrival of the bridegroom was a secret. The bride knew the approximate time of his arrival but not the exact time. The bride and her party were to be ready for his arrival at any time. The bridegroom’s father would be the one to tell the bridegroom that the time had come to leave his home and go to his bride.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. (Matthew 24:36)

The bridegroom’s imminent appearance might have been announced several times to build excitement throughout the celebration.

Then if any one says to you, Lo, here is the Christ!' orThere he is!’ do not believe it. (Matthew 24:23)

Eventually they would announce the bridegroom had arrived and everyone would “***go out to meet him.***”

But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ (Matthew 25:6)

They would all go to the bride’s new home and one of the bridegroom’s attendants would walk before the wedding party shouting “Behold, the bridegroom comes!” and blowing the shofar. There would be a wedding supper and the bride and bridegroom would consummate the marriage that evening.



Thread necromancy… wooooo…

In current practice, Jewish weddings have to take place between sunset and sunset of the actual day written on the marriage contract (ketubah). This got to be a very fraught thing for friends of mine, because things were getting toward sunset and they had to hurry up and get married before their ketubah was invalidated. (My friends were getting married on Saturday (Jewish Sabbath), and then eating and dancing and such as soon as the Sabbath ended (after sunset). So yeah, tight scheduling.)

Because of American customs of having Saturday weddings, and because of all the other stuff a Jewish bride and groom need to do (there is a very long fast involved), usually marriages do take place sometime in the late afternoon or evening. So basically, everybody gets there, things get done, and it’s time to eat by or after sunset.

However, my understanding is that it’s also possible in current practice to have your wedding scheduled for just after sunset, at the beginning of your ketubah’s “day.”

So anyway, the picture we have in the Gospels seems to be of a guy getting married after the beginning of their contract’s “day,” and hence getting married at night.

As for non-Biblical examples – it used to be fairly common in France to get married on weekdays shortly after midnight, so that you and the priest wouldn’t have to fast very long, you could potentially have the priest’s weekday early early morning Mass as your nuptial Mass, and you could receive Communion pretty easily without having much chance to fall into mortal sin after your pre-marriage Confession.

I mention this because it was announced today that Louis and Zelie Martin are going to be canonized, and they got married at midnight on a Tuesday in 1858. :slight_smile:


Hey Mintaka,

Interesting reply. Even if I had forgotten why I asked. :smiley:


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