Something Old New Borrowed And Blue

This week, in our wedding traditions explained series, we talk about the age old Something Old New Borrowed And Blue that so many brides go through the trouble of having at their ceremony. A common theme that you’ve no doubt noticed throughout these blog entries is that humans used to be (and still are today) a superstitious bunch. See the meaning behind this old rhyme below.

Something Old New Borrowed And Blue

Something Old New Borrowed And BlueThis rhyming phrase neatly lists a number of English customs dating back to the Victorian age which, when worn in combination, should bring the bride oodles of fabulous good luck. The something old was meant to tie the bride to her family and her past, while the something new represented her new life as the property of a new family. The item borrowed was supposed to be taken from someone who was already a successfully married wife, so as to pass on a bit of her good fortune to the new bride. The color blue stood for all sorts of super fun things like faithfulness, loyalty, and purity. The sixpence, of course, was meant to bring the bride and her new groom actual, cold, hard fortune. Just in case that wasn’t enough, brides of yore also carried bunches of herbs (which most brides now replace with expensive, out-of-season peonies) to ward off evil spirits.

Each verse refers to a good luck item:

  • Something old – continuity with the bride’s family and the past
  • Something new – optimism and hope for the bride’s new life ahead
  • Something borrowed – an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride
  • Something blue – Before the late 19th century, blue was a popular color for wedding gowns, as evidenced in proverbs like, “Marry in blue, lover be true.”

The often unquoted last line of the traditional bridal saying gives a hint at its origin. The complete phrase is: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

A sixpence is a coin made of silver and worth six pennies that was minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967. It may date back to a Scottish custom of a groom putting a silver coin under his foot for good luck. For optimum fortune, the sixpence should be in the left shoe. These days, a dime or a copper penny is sometimes substituted, and many companies sell keepsake sixpences for weddings.

We hope you enjoyed this blog entry on the Something Old New Borrowed And Blue tradition and if you have questions about your wedding, or would like to know more about traditions, feel free to contact us here at Kalifornia Entertainment. We are well-versed in many different types of traditions, including ones from different regions and cultures around the world.