Something old

Posted by Pdianek on December 04, 2003

In Reply to: Something old posted by ESC on December 03, 2003

: : In the description for the wedding day saying, 'Something old, something new, something borrowed, (and) something blue' given here in the phrase meanings section, the end of the rhyme, 'and a silver sixpence in her shoe', is missed out. Whilst this is archaic, should it be included, or at least referred to?
: : As for the origin (which isn't mentioned), to the best of my knowledge it is a Victorian saying: the old representing a link to the past, the new symbolising a new life, the borrowed showing the continuation of support from family and friends, the blue representing purity (brides would marry in blue before Queen Victoria changed the trend by marrying in white), and the sixpence representing future prosperity.

: From the archives:


: : Something old, something new
: : Something borrowed, something blue
: : And a silver sixpence in your shoe

: : The rhyme originated in Victorian times although some of customs referred in it are much older.

: : "Something old" represents the couple's friends who will hopefully remain close during the marriage. Traditionally this was old garter which given to the bride by a happily married woman in the hope that her happiness in marriage would be passed on to the new bride.

: : "Something new" symbolizes the newlyweds' happy and prosperous future.

: : "Something borrowed" is often lent by the bride's family and is an item much valued by the family. The bride must return the item to ensure good luck.

: : The custom of the bride wearing "something blue" originated in ancient Israel where the bride wore a blue ribbon in her hair to represent fidelity.

: : The placing of a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was to ensure wealth in the couples married life. Today some brides substitute a penny in their shoe during the ceremony as silver sixpences are less common.

: : From U.S. Bridal Guide online :
: : Something Old: Continuity
: : Something New: Optimism and Hope
: : Something Borrowed: Happiness shared from happily married couple
: : Something Blue: Fidelity, Love, Purity
: : Lucky Sixpence For Her Shoe: Ensures a Life of Fortune

: PS. Here's a little more on the "something blue" part. Guys had to wear blue also. That's a nice touch.

: traditio.htm In continuing with the discussion of the white wedding dress, it should be noted that - in Biblical days - blue represented purity. Thus the bride and groom would wear a blue band around the bottom of their wedding attire, hence something blue.

For a scholarly yet fascinating look at blue, try Michel Pastoureau's 2001 book, "Blue: the history of a color" (Princeton University Press). Full of great tidbits.