What is a wedding anniversary and why do we celebrate it as part of western culture? This is simply a celebration of the date that a person’s marriage took place. Traditionally these names were given to indicate the length of marriage, such as the golden century to celebrate 50 years of marriage.
The official recognition
Important wedding anniversary milestones are now officially recognized by a number of governments and heads of state. This not only demonstrates the respect for long-lasting marriages that still exists today, but also allows the newlyweds to enjoy their moment in the spotlight with something special.
Official recognition in the British Commonwealth
The monarch, who sits on the throne at the time of a person’s 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries, can send the couple a private message wishing them a happy 100th birthday. However, this message is only sent when an application is made to Buckingham Palace in the UK or to the relevant Governor-General’s Office in other Commonwealth countries. Any subsequent centenarians after the 70th will automatically receive a message from the monarch if an application is made again.
In Australia and Canada, the Governor-General will also issue his own congratulatory note to mark the 50th anniversary.
Official recognition in the United States of America
In the US, a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary or later may receive personal wishes from the Office of the President.
Official recognition by the Papal States
Roman Catholic couples can receive a papal blessing through their diocese for important wedding anniversaries such as their 25th, 50th, 60th and 70th centuries. These papal blessings must be applied for in good time and approved by the Vatican in the Papal States.
Traditional wedding anniversary names provide a rough guide to the types of traditional gifts spouses are expected to exchange on a wedding day. Below is a list of some of the most important wedding anniversaries and the gifts that go with them:
The first wedding anniversary is the paper anniversary
The fifth wedding anniversary is the wooden anniversary
The tenth wedding anniversary is the Tin Anniversary
The fifteenth anniversary is the crystal anniversary
The twentieth anniversary is the China Anniversary
The twenty-fifth anniversary is the silver jubilee
Two of the most important centenaries are the 50th and 60th, which are the Golden and Diamond Centenaries, respectively. These traditional centenary gifts are believed to have originated in Germany, but it must be noted that the gifts and centenary symbols have changed over time, with the diamond now being a well-known British symbol for a 75th anniversary.
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