Why does a Woman have a Bridal Shower?

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By Esther Villalobos

To shower the bride with gifts for her new abode is the reason for throwing a shower party.

A bridal shower is one of the most (if not the most) exciting and fun among the pre-wedding activities that the bride attends to. It is when the bride is showered with gifts, and to celebrate the remaining days as a single woman with her friends.

The Tale

There are a lot of legends that have been told about the origin of a bridal shower party. The most interesting one is seen in Lillian Eichle’s “The Custom of Mankind.”

“Many, many years ago in Holland, a beautiful girl gave her heart to a miller – a young fellow who hadn’t much in worldly goods but whom everyone loved because of his kindness. He was poor because he gave his bread and his flour to the needy. The girl’s father forbade the marriage and told his daughter that she could not have the dowry he had placed aside for her if she married the poor miller. He had selected what he considered a satisfactory husband for her – a man who owned a farm and a hundred pigs! The people to whom the miller had given bread heard the story and were sorry. They got together and talked the matter over. Too bad the beautiful girl would lose her dowry. Couldn’t they do something about it? They didn’t have much money, but each one thought of a gift he or she could contribute so that the miller and the beautiful girl could marry and have their own home. And they came to the girl in a gay procession: one with an old Dutch vase; one with plates for the kitchen shelves; one with linens made on the hand loom at home and one with a shiny new pot. They showered her with their gifts and gave her a finer dowry than her father ever could! Many brides-to-be today must be grateful to the little Dutch maiden whose “shower” set such a happy precedent.” (194)

Originally, to please the bride (and sometimes the groom) and all invited guests, the hostess prepares this gathering to shower the bride with variety of gifts that can be used as she prepares to set up her household.

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