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Question: What is a Chuppah?

According to the Jewish view of marriage, the purpose of marriage is both companionship and procreation. The Chuppah is a marriage canopy that symbolizes the couple's first home together. It is the most distinctive feature of any Jewish wedding. This term is taken from the Talmudic stipulation that a marriage does not take legal effect until the bride has entered the "chuppah."

According to many authorities the Chuppah was the groom's house, or at any rate an actual room or building other than the bride's parental home. By entering it the woman was declaring her official independence from her family and accepting the protection of her husband. The word chuppah (also spelled hupah, chupah, or chuppa - plural: chuppot or chuppahs,) originally appears in the Hebrew Bible and symbolized by the cloth canopy and the four poles. Just as a chuppah is open on all four sides, so was the tent of Abraham open for hospitality.

A chuppah can be made of any material. Silk or quilted chuppot are increasingly common, and can often be customized or personalized to suit the couple's unique interests and occupations. These days though, chuppah design is usually a more flexible. The important thing is to have four secure poles and a canopy overhead.

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