Judaica Guide: A Complete Guide to Essential Judaica & Hebrew

Chuppah - Wedding Canopy

The Chuppah is the most universally recognized symbol of a Jewish wedding. The Chuppah is a structure under which the ceremony takes place. It is generally consisting of a cloth canopy, sometimes a Tallit, beneath which the bride (Kallah) and groom (Chatan) stand.

Traditional Jewish ChuppahTraditional Jewish Chuppah

While a Jewish marriage is still considered valid in the absence of a chuppah, a chuppah is still considered a basic requirement for a Jewish wedding. A traditional chuppah, especially within Orthodox Judaism, recommends that there be open sky exactly above the chuppah.

The Chuppah is usually held up by four poles, or sometimes manually held up by attendants to the ceremony. It represents the presence of God as well as the couple's future home. It also serves as a sanctified place where the bride and groom's vows can be exchanged. The Chuppah is open on four sides, as to invite the community to share in the joy of the wedding. Just as a chuppah is open on all four sides, so was the tent of Abraham open for hospitality.

In ancient times, the marriage was consummated in the groom's Chuppah or tent, and the groom and bride stayed in the Chuppah for seven feast days. Today's Chuppah symbolizes the Chuppah of ancient times.

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