“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

bloom-1851462_1920June is here and weddings are in the air (all around us). June is the most popular month for Americans to get married. The second most popular month is October.

December is the most common month to get engaged (promised to marry), according to a 2014 study by the popular wedding website, The Knot. (The name “The Knot” comes from the popular expression “to tie the knot” meaning to get married.)

There are many traditions in American weddings. One of them is related to what the bride (woman getting married) will wear on her wedding day. This saying – “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” – tells the bride that she must wear these four things if she wants to have good luck for her wedding and in her marriage.

What is the meaning behind each of these four things?

“Something old” – This shows a bride’s connection to her past and her relationship to tradition or the old way of doing things. If a bride wears something old, the marriage will have longevity, or will last a long time.

“Something new” – This shows hope for a good future. If a bride wears something new, the marriage will be happy, and be filled with joy or happiness.

“Something borrowed” – This usually comes from another woman who is already happily married. The idea is that the borrowed item will give the new marriage some of the good luck and happiness that the married couple already has.

“Something blue” – This represents love and fidelity (faithfulness and loyalty). It’s not clear why the color blue represents this ideal (principle). There are different theories. Some say blue was worn as a sign of faithfulness by Jewish brides, and the tradition continued from there, since the color blue was later associated by Christians with the Virgin Mary. Others attribute it to a custom related to preventing “evil spirits” from affecting the bride.

Perhaps it was chosen simple because the word “blue” rhymes with the word “new” in this catchy (easy to remember) little rhyme (short poem with words at the end of sentences having a similar sound)!

~ ESLPod Team

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* This post was adapted from “What Insiders Know” from Cultural English 61. To see the rest of the Learning Guide, including a Glossary, Sample Sentences, Comprehension Questions, a Complete Transcript of the entire lesson and more, become a Select English Member.
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10 Responses to “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

  1. Peter says:

    team eslpod rules 🙂

    First off ,I must say

    To be brutally honest with you team eslpod , in my book ,marriage is an idiotic institution.
    I m 100 percent unabashedly in favour of the dissolution of said institution.

    Ergo, still living a single life

    if u must know , I love it

    U know
    I feed on the thrill of the chase
    U know I m talking about the thrills and spills 🙂

    Go ahead team eslpod slap me a label
    An outsider perhaps
    I admit it when it comes to the idea of marriage rather popping the question
    I m an outlier
    The most distant I could be.

    Please note I m not a commitment-phobe

    Simply resent the practice
    I don’t think , I m alone in this
    I mean I m not the only person in planet who thinks the binding contract fundamentally is null and void from the get go.

    It is just me
    Like the rest of us
    And I m entitled to my opinion ,aren’t I?

    Let’s move on
    Vis of vis the wedding cultural-laced adage

    Let’s not read too much to it ,team eslpod

    In my opinion

    It is simply blue because it rhymes.
    If u really wanna go there
    Blue means gloomy and dismal too
    I mean , Feeling down

    Thanks team eslpod


  2. emiliano says:

    Dear Peter, reading you I have to admit that I agree with you despite I have a
    man with the greatest luck of this usual wedding world.

    Usually I don´t like weddings at all, but when I met Maria Jose, Cuca, she said
    to me wedding or nothing.
    So, despite I did not want to go to the altar I have to go if I want to get her as
    my girl, woman, friend, and lover, after that I knew I was very fortunate as Cuca
    is the best I had in life.

    My mind it is just the same, I do not like weddings at all.
    So yes, I absolutely agree with you Pete as my experience was just an
    exception and I have such a luck that it is unusual nowadays and before.

    Greetings. emiliano

  3. Peter says:

    I hear you Emiliano
    It is an entrapment craftfully done by the female of species :))

    By that I mean ,
    It is all women’s doing
    If it was up to men,mankind had gone extinct eons ago 🙂

    What can we do ?
    We are weak, bro
    You hear a lot of rhetorics about men as the powerful dominant species but in factuality, it is women who are in control.

    Let’s not fool ourselves with all the hot air, bro

    Women have been leading the way for centuries. 🙂
    The sooner we admit it, the sooner we will save us a lot of heartaches 🙂

    God knows , how many times I came this close to wear the ball and chain :))))
    Everytime,it was just a narrow scape:)

    U know what they say
    We can’t live with women, and we can’t live without them.
    It is quintessential catch 22 ,my friend.


  4. Mary Carmen says:

    Hey, my brother used to say that women are in power. So i say, why female have to carry on all the stuff??? I mean, if I, as a woman, am the one who says what to do and how, I don’t ever notice it!!

  5. Peter says:

    Dear Mary ,
    I see your brother’s point

    Trust me
    In this time and age ,Women call all the shots!!!


  6. Peter says:

    to me ,what Emilio did takes courage!!


  7. emiliano says:

    Peter you make me laugh just a lot because it is so evidently that women have
    the power that why are we going to say that.
    It is better to think we have it and being out of the play always looking at the
    sky or doing silly things like going to watch the football match or similar things.

    Cuca my wife of course she has the power but I don´t care because it is easy I
    love her absolutely, so why am I going to ask myself about it?.
    She has given me everything I wanted, never said to me no, so evidently with
    the power held in her hands I have been absolutely happy.

    Of course she is the one to me and It has not any importance if she helds the
    wheel or not if I had an easy life for years.

    That´s the point my dear Peter, if you fell in love who has or not has the power
    it is a secondary question.

    As Warren said in the other note it is better to look every day the white dog, the
    one that gives us happiness, so evidently I had fed my loving wife with everything
    she needed along the years that made us happy, that´s the important subject
    no other has any importance when you are living in this unhappy world.

    Take care my friend and open your mind and heart to new experiences about
    Mary Carmen, usually the one who make things, who makes nearly everything it is just that person who has the power in her hands because the other without her are really nothing.
    Of course usually women work too much more than men that the price the have
    to pay being the Queens of the plot who manage everything round them.
    If a person, men, do nothing which kind of power are they going to exhibit?.

    Let me laugh again.

    Just when Cuca fall sick and I have to take house chores was the moment I could see which is the kind of power women have in their hands.
    Everybody are waiting to be fed depending absolutely from you woman or man in my case.


  8. emiliano says:

    It is said that:

    When a woman is educated or taught a family is being educated.
    Not other saying is said about men.

    Sorry but such is life. emiliano

  9. emiliano says:

    Warren have nice vacations.


  10. Mary Carmen says:

    Thank you, Emiliano. I’d prefer not to have so much power and make fever things, however, as you said before… Luckily, my loved ones understand, encourage and support me in everything, so i am feeling much appreciated and happy.
    I also wish Warren a nice vacations.
    Bye bye

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