Wedding anniversary

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A wedding anniversary is the anniversary of the date a wedding took place. Traditional names exist for some of them: for instance, 50 years of marriage is called a "golden wedding anniversary" or simply a "golden anniversary" or "golden wedding".

Official recognition[edit]

The historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Holy Roman Empire, when husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, or vicennalia, and a gold wreath on the fiftieth. Later, principally in the twentieth century, commercialism led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift.[1]

In the Commonwealth realms, one can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that.[2] This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, or to the Governor-General's office in the other Commonwealth realms.[3]

In Australia, where one can receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General on the 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries; the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition leader, local members of both state and federal parliaments, and state Governors may also send salutations for the same anniversaries.[4]

In Canada, one can also receive a message from the Governor-General for the 50th anniversary, and every fifth anniversary after that.[5]

In the United States, a couple can receive a greeting from the President for any wedding anniversary on or after the 50th.[6]

Roman Catholics may apply for a Papal blessing through their local diocese for wedding anniversaries of a special nature (25th, 50th, 60th, etc.).[7][8]

Celebration and gifts[edit]

The names of some anniversaries provide guidance for appropriate or traditional gifts for the spouses to give each other; if there is a party these can be brought by the guests or influence the theme or decoration. These gifts vary in different countries, but some years have well-established connections now common to most nations: 5th Wooden, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 40th Ruby, 50th Gold, 60th Diamond. In English speaking countries the first, wooden, gift was cut on the day of celebration and then presented to the wife as a finished article before the next two Quarter Days had passed. The tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbours with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years. On celebration of the 50th, the wife received a wreath of gold. Over time the number of symbols expanded and the German tradition came to assign gifts that had direct connections with each stage of married life. The symbols have changed over time. For example in the United Kingdom, diamond was a well known symbol for the 75th anniversary, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after Queen Victoria's 60 years on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee.[citation needed]

The origins of the current gift conventions date to 1937. Before that, only the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries had an associated gift. In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association (now known as Jewelers of America as a result of an organizational merger) introduced an expanded list of gifts. The revamped list gave a gift for each year up to the 25th, and then for every fifth anniversary after that.[9]

Traditional and modern anniversary gifts [edit]

Lists of wedding anniversary gifts vary by country. The traditional and modern U.S. versions were compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library.[10][11][12][13]

YearTraditional (U.S.)Traditional (UK)[14]Suggested modern gift list created by

librarians at Chicago Public Library

1stPaperCottonClock
2ndCottonPaperChina
3rdLeatherCrystal, glass
4thLinen, silkFruit and flowersAppliances (electrical)
5thWoodSilverware
6thIronSugarWood objects
7thWool, copperWoollenDesk sets/pen and pencil sets
8thBronzeSaltLinens, lace
9thPotteryCopperLeather goods
10thTin, AluminumTinDiamond jewelry
11thSteelFashion jewelry, accessories
12thSilkSilk and fine linenPearls, colored gems
13thLaceTextiles, furs
14thIvoryGold jewelry
15thCrystalWatches
16thSilver holloware
17thFurniture
18thPorcelain
19thBronze
20thChinaPlatinum
21stBrass, Nickel
22ndCopper
23rdSilver plate
24thOpalMusical instruments
25thSilver
30thPearlDiamond
35thCoral, jadeCoralJade
40thRuby
45thSapphire
50thGold
55thEmerald
60thDiamond (yellow)Diamond
65thBlue sapphire
70thPlatinum[15][16][17]
75thDiamond, gold
80thOak[18][19]Diamond, pearl
85thMoonstoneWineWife's birthstone
90thStoneEngraved marble, Granite [20]

Flower gifts[edit]

YearFlower
1stCarnation
2ndLily of the Valley
3rdSunflower
4thHydrangea
5thDaisy
6thCalla
7thFreesia
8thLilac
9thBird of paradise
10thDaffodil
11thTulip
12thPeony
13thChrysanthemum
14thDahlia
15thRose
20thAster
25thIris
28thOrchid
30thLily
40thGladiolus
50thYellow rose, violet

Gemstone gifts[edit]

YearGemstone
1stMother of Pearl
2ndGarnet
3rdMoonstone
4thBlue Topaz
5thRose Quartz
6thAmethyst
7thOnyx
8thTourmaline
9thLapis Lazuli
10thCrystal or green Tourmaline
11thTurquoise
12thJade
13thCitrine
14thOpal
15thRhodolite
20thEmerald
25thTsavorite
30thPearl
40thRuby
50thGold
60thDiamond
65thSapphire

[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Debrett's Everyday Etiquette". British Wedding Anniversaries. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Who is entitled?". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  3. ^ "Queen and anniversary messages". The Monarchy Today. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  4. ^ "It's an Honour – Anniversary Messages". Australian Government. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "Invite the Governor General" (Requires access). The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "White House Greeting". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Office of Papal Charities
  8. ^ "To Request a Papal Blessing". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, Office of the Bishop. Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  9. ^ Lee, Cookie (October 2001). Wedding Anniversaries: From Paper to Diamond. Ryland Peters & Small.
  10. ^ "Wedding Anniversaries," compiled by librarians at the Chicago Public Library's Information Center (December 2000)
  11. ^ Anderson, Charles. "The Exchange," RQ 25 (1985): 175.
  12. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Mahwah, New Jersey: World Almanac Books, 1997.
  13. ^ World Book Encyclopedia, 1997 ed., s.v. "Wedding Anniversary".
  14. ^ Pears Cyclopaedia, 1978–79 edition, "Wedding Anniversaries". L128.
  15. ^ "The platinum wedding anniversary of Jim and Gladys Till". Lancaster Guardian, 8 January 2008.
  16. ^ "Tenor and wife toast 70 years of marriage". North West Evening Mail, 15 August 2008.
  17. ^ "They've been around the world in 70 years". Portsmouth News, 29 July 2008.
  18. ^ Miller, Vikki (24 May 2008). "Britain's longest married couple celebrate a quiet 80th anniversary". The Telegraph. 
  19. ^ Facts and figures The British Monarchy
  20. ^ "Hallmark’s top tips for the perfect wedding anniversary gift". The Hallmark Blog.
  21. ^ Gemstone Anniversary List