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San San Kudo

It has already been a week since Japan’s eartquake and tsunami tragedy and each day, it seems like there is a new risk.  The road to healing will be long, emotionally and physically, but the unity and the perseverance in the country and all around the world will overcome the challenges and obstacles that Mother Nature has put upon the Japanese people and us.

Today’s blog is in honor of all of our colleagues, friends, and families who has been affected by the disaster in Japan.  Being in the wedding and event industry, Apropos Creations will share with you one of their oldest traditions, a wedding ceremony that the Japanese citizens refer to as “San San Kudo”.

San San Kudo

 
San san kudo is one of the oldest wedding ceremonial traditions in Japan.  It began in the early Edo Period which ran from 1600 to 1868.  San san kudo is literally translated as “three- three- nine- times”.  This is a formal and ritualized drinking of a small amount of sake which is a ceremony of binding.  There is also a specific cup used to drink sake during this ceremony called sakazuki.  This special cup is only used to drink sake and no other beverages.  The sakazuki are actually more like shallow dipping bowls than they are cups and it is a set of three and they are three different sizes, small, medium, and large.  They stack up on top of the other with the smallest on top.  The top cup represents heaven, the middle one earth, and the bottom one represents humankind.  The bride and the groom take turns sipping three times from each cup.  By the time that they are finished, they have sipped sake three times from each of the three cups, with the total being nine times.  Hence, the name of the ritual, San san kudo or “three- three- nine- times”.  Odd numbers are very promising in Japan and in particular, the number three.  Nine is the most extreme lucky odd number, being three times three.

The bride and the groom should not drink the sake like a “shot” but instead, sip it lightly and savor the drink.  Sake may not be the best drink out there to sip but this represents the couple’s marriage life not always being delightful.  They will have to overcome life’s challenges with the joint spirit of the san san kudo.  By exchanging the nuptial sake sips –three times three- , husband and wife are a union. 

Other Japanese Wedding Facts:

The Japanese wedding ceremony is religiously held in a Shinto shrine and is conducted by a Shinto priest. 

Shiro Maku is the traditional Japanese wedding dress.  It is a white kimono dress.  Shiro means white and maku means pure.

Montsuki is the groom’s attire.  It is a kimono with a short haori overcoat with pleated hakama pants.

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