People of the world are so different in many ways, except when it comes to gold coin traditions. It is precious and timeless everywhere. It is related to deaths, weddings, births, and all types of celebrations.
In ancient Rome, warriors used to cover the eyes of their dead mates with two gold coins before sending them in the river of the dead, and as they floated peacefully and quietly, they would throw an arrow of fire to cremate the body. They believed that there was a river dividing the world of the dead from the world of the living, and to get through this river; the dead had to be accompanied by Charon, a ferryman who was in charge of that trip. These coins were considered as a payment or a bribe for Charon so that he would take the souls safely to the other world.
The Hmong people of china used to fill boats with gold coins in their funerals, as they believed that the dead person should leave the world with a fortune. Of course, by the passage of time this became a very costly ritual, so they changed the real gold coins to fake ones.
It is different when it comes to weddings. In Ireland, the groom gives the bride a gold coin in the morning of their wedding day, telling her: “I give you this as a token of all that I possess.” It is considered to be a good-will gesture, indicating that the groom is giving himself and all his possessions to his wife. As a promise that he will provide for his wife and share everything he has with his family.
In Turkey, the guests of a wedding are supposed to bring gold coins to give to the bride as a gift. They pin the coins to the bride’s dress. The size of the coin is an indicator to the strength of the relationship. The larger the coin, the stronger is the relationship.
Spain has a huge wedding ceremony that includes 13 gold coins. The god mother of gold holds 13 gold coins which the groom presents to the bride. One half of the coins are kept by the bride and the other is kept by the groom, as a pledge to marriage. These coins are used later to support the household.
Egyptians have a lovely tradition related to child birth. After a week of the delivery, the family gathers around and makes a feast, to celebrate the health of the newborn baby. They make a lot of noise to make sure that the baby’s ears are accustomed to the noise of life, and the families of the bride and groom gives the baby gold coins as gifts. To give the new family a sense of security, as it is strongly believed in Egypt that god allows people more money when they have children.
Gold coins are also strongly related to Christmas time. There was a kind man called St. Nicholas, he was a wealthy man who lived in a place called Myra (somewhere in today’s Turkey). One day, he heard people talking about a widowed man who was struggling financially with his 3 daughters. He felt sorry for the man, and wanted to give him money without embarrassing him or lending him. So, he went into the man’s house through the chimney. He placed three gold coins inside his daughters’ socks which were hung to dry by the chimney. That’s how the whole Santa Clause’s tradition started.