Chupah is a Jewish wedding canopy.
Since Talmudic times it has been tradition for a couple to get married underneath a wedding canopy.
Thus the wedding ceremony takes place under a Chuppah underneath which the married couple‚ the parents and the Rabbi who performs the Jewish wedding ritual stands.
Sometimes the Chupah is just a Tallit‚ prayer shawl‚ used but today more often a more elaborate and decorated square of embroidered or painted material that is held up by four poles is used to beautify the wedding ceremony.
The Chupah is a symbolic part of the wedding and symbolizes the shelter of the new home being created by the wedded couple. It is open on all sides‚ just as Abraham and Sarah had their tent open all sides to welcome friends and relatives in unconditional hospitality.
as many artist and craftspeople began designing Chuppas we can see that in many families the Chupah has become a decorative item that will be passed as heirloom in the family from wedding to wedding while sometimes each event is inscribed or embroidered on it.
There are many traditions to the way the wedding ceremony takes place under the wedding canopy; In Ashkenazi comunities it is a custom is to have the chuppah ceremony outside under the stars according to the old promise of the blessing given by G-d Genesis 15:5 to the patriarch Abraham‚ that his children shall be multiplied as the stars of the heavens Sefardi comunities have the chuppah nostly indoors.
In very Orthodox Jewish weddings that separate men from women‚ the groom is led to the Chuppah by the 2 fathers or other 2 male relatives‚ while the bride is led by the mothers. In more modern Orthodox as well as in Conservative and Reform communities the bride and groom are accompanied to the Chuppah each by his or her parents.
Another Ashkenazi tradition is that the bride led by the two mothers encircles the groom seven times under the Chuppah. The number seven symbolizes that just as the world was built in seven days the bride is figuratively building the walls of the couple's new world together. In more egaliterian communities this ritual is skipped.
Still under the wedding canopy the Rabbi recites the marriage blessings and a blessing over the wine with blessing that praises and thanks G-d for giving the Jewish laws of sanctity and morality to preserve the sanctity of family life and of the Jewish people.
Usually the part of blessings under the Chupah are said by relatives and good friends of the family instead of the rabbi to in order to honor them and let them partake in the joy of the wedding ceremony.
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