German wedding tradition

Context: My informant is a 52 year old German immigrant. He grew up in East Germany and went to university in the Soviet Union and currently resides in California. He will be referred to as “H”.

Main piece: We have this tradition, and we did this for our wedding by the way, where wedding guests get a bunch of porcelain plates and smash them on the ground. Then the new groom and bride have to clean up all the bits of broken glass together, kinda to show that they can work through any problem together. I think it’s really sweet.

Background: My informant is German and was married in Germany in his hometown in the Harz region.

Notes: This reminds of breaking glass in Jewish weddings, although I’m sure the significance behind that action is different than in this context. Breaking things in the context of a wedding seems subversive, as most symbolism in weddings comes from an idea of unity and wholeness. But the logic behind this particular tradition is for a couple to demonstrate an ability to overcome hardships in their new lives together.