Ever wondered why the bumpers of bridal cars, especially in Western weddings, are decorated with shoes, tin cans, streamers, etc.?
The bridal car is usually decorated such by the entourage, especially the male members. It serves as their “gift” to the newlyweds, and they sometimes go overboard with toilet paper and shaving cream. However messy and humiliating this practice may seem, the custom is believed to bring luck to the marriage, as the noise created by the cans are said to frighten evil spirits.
The shoes, meanwhile, have different origins. Some claim that it began in Egypt. Shoes then were considered a sign of influence and authority, so when ownership of something was passed to one another, Egyptians would trade their sandals. Thus, when a father has to “pass” his daughter to her groom, the father would give the bride’s sandals to the groom.
The Romans modified the tradition by having the groom tap on the bride’s footwear to signify the “transfer” of authority, while the English had the groom tapping his bride on the head with his shoe. Feet were likewise considered a phallic symbol, so old shoes were thrown at the bride to ensure fertility. Leather was also believed to ward off evil spirits so old leather shoes were given to the newlyweds to keep them safe. In time, the shoes and cans were tied to the end of their vehicle.