Stomping on the Glass (Anna Matusewicz)

Title: Stomping on the Glass

General Information about Item:

  • Customary Lore, wedding folklore
  • Language: Hebrew, English
  • Region of Origin: Middle East
  • Informant: Abby Bresler
  • Date Collected: 5-21-2019

Informant Data:

  • Abby Bresler is a 20-year-old woman from Lexington, Massachusetts and a Dartmouth ‘21. She is Jewish and identifies as Caucasian. Her immediate and extended family are Jewish and she grew up learning about Judaism from her family and in Hebrew school. On campus she is heavily involved in sustainability and currently lives with the interviewer at the Sustainable Living Center.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Stomping on the glass serves as a representation of the fragility of human relationships and also the permanence of marriage. Not being able to put the glass back together after it is smashed symbolizes that there is no turning back to your previous life after you are married. Historically, breaking the glass serves to remind the couple of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and gives time for those present to recall the pain and loss suffered by the Jewish people and that they are in a world in need of healing.
  • Social Context:I asked my friend Abby if she knew about any marriage folklore and this is what she shared with me. Abby’s family is Jewish and her cousins are much older than her so she learned about this tradition while attending her cousins’ wedding when she was young. Additionally, in Hebrew school, at around the third grade, children learn about the lifecycle of Jewish traditions in a person’s life, including this tradition at weddings. This tradition takes place at the end of the wedding ceremony and is performed by the groom in front of all the guests. The glass can be anything, but is often from one of the newlyweds’ homes before marriage, and is wrapped in cloth or a napkin to prevent injury. Breaking the glass also ends the couple’s time under the Chuppah and is followed by everyone present yelling “Mazel tov!”

Item (Direct Quote):

  • So there’s this tradition in Jewish weddings that, tradition of the groom. I don’t what they do in like same-sex marriages but like, and this is a very heteronormative tradition, but like the groom steps on a glass and like crushes it under his foot and I think it’s supposed to represent, check me on this, I think it’s supposed to represent the destruction of the second temple I’m like remembering that but I’m not exactly sure.

Informant’s Comments:

  • “I think this is something that crosses most branches of Judaism… It’s like a pretty unifying tradition.”

Collector’s Comments:

  • I would think that this is the most well known of Jewish wedding traditions so I really appreciated hearing more about it and getting to know what it actually symbolizes.

Collector’s Name: Anna Matusewicz


  • Wedding Folklore
  • Jewish Lore
  • Homeopathic Magic



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