Hey soon-to-be married ladies and gents! You have most certainly heard this saying before:
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
Aside from the silver sixpence, we still adhere to using these charms for “good luck.” But, how did we come up with these charms for good luck in the first place?
According to Jacobs and Nutt, authors of Folklore, the rhyme appears to originate in 1898 England (so that’s where the sixpence comes from):
In this country an old couplet directs that the bride shall wear:— “Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue.” “The something blue” takes, I am given to understand, usually the form of a garter, an article of dress which plays an important part in some wedding rites, as, for instance, in the old custom of plucking off the garter of the bride. “The something old” and ” something blue” are devices to baffle the Evil Eye. The usual effect on the bride of the Evil Eye is to render her barren, and this is obviated by wearing “something borrowed”, which should properly be the undergarment of some woman who has been blessed with children: the clothes communicate fertility to the bride. (page 128)
Now here is my take on it, in the modern era of the USA. Let me know what you think of it. I can imagine that something “old” represents something that is traditional and been passed down through the families. Something that has stood the test of time. I would like that to be associated with my marriage. Wouldn’t you?
As for something new, well, I can see how that would fit. Without getting too prescriptive of my own (fingers crossed) someday-wedding and marriage, I feel that something new would be associated with the newness of life and sense of self I would get from my marriage. I am beginning my life as an adult and charting off into unknown territory. It is fresh. It something that did not exist until I became married. It is brand new. Even if it was my second marriage, it would still be brand new. It could perhaps be also associated with wanting to always keep the love new and alive, the fires of passion always burning anew.
Something borrowed is interesting. How would I interpret this? I don’t want to feel like I am borrowing anything! What would be the point of, “to have and to hold?” Alright, let me see if I can make this one fit. Maybe I could relate it to the fact that while we are alive, we are sharing our time with others. When you share, it is like you are borrowing something from another person. Or, perhaps another idea might be that someone is sharing their life with you, the way when you borrow something, someone is a sharing a piece of themselves in some respect. Hm, I kind of like that. What do you think? I think I’ll skip this as my undergarment and figure out some other options for promoting fertility.
As for something blue, this one I have never understood! What if blue just doesn’t match my wedding? Ok, ok, we are talking about tradition here so let me think beyond what is beautiful and what I find appealing. (Not that I would mind a blue-themed wedding but I would like some choices!) I don’t want to be blue because of my husband. That doesn’twork. Perhaps I would be blue without my husband? That is true, but that’s a little sad to think about for my special day. I actually think that the idea of “true-blue” love probably works the best, though I wouldn’t mind keeping the evil eye away as well!
Third Photo Courtesy of Hayden Olivia Bridal.