This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
It would probably be interesting to many to describe the marriage ceremonies observed by different nations, but to enter into a descriptive detail would occupy too much space. It is sufficient to say that while some wives are wooed and won, others are bought and sold; while in some countries the husband brings the wife to his home, in others, as in Formosa, the daughter brings her husband to her father's house, and is considered one of the family, while the sons, upon marriage, leave the family forever. In civilized countries the ceremonies are either ministerial or magisterial, and are more or less religious in character, while in others less civilized the gaining of a wife depends upon a foot-race, in which the female has the start of one-third the distance of the course, as is the custom in Lapland. In Caffraria the lover must first fight himself into the affections of his lady-love, and if he defeats all his rivals she becomes his wife without further ceremony. Among the Congo tribes a wife is taken upon trial for a year, and if not suited to the standard of taste of the husband he returns her to her parents. In Persia the wife's status depends upon her fruitfulness: if she be barren she can be put aside. In the same country they have also permanent marriages, and marriages for a certain period only--the latter never allowed to exceed ninety years.
In fact the marriage ceremonies differ nearly in all countries. To us some may appear very absurd, and yet our customs may be just as amazing to them. It matters but little how a conjugal union is effected as long as sanctioned by law or custom, and obligates the parties, by common opinion, to observe the duties pertaining to married life.