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Can You Marry a Dead Person?

A posthumous matrimony is marriage between someone who is alive and someone who is deceased. It is not recognized by law in the United States but there are countries in the world which do, France being the primary one. It is legal to marry a dead person in France, so long as proof exists that the wedding was already planned.

The French law allowing for posthumous matrimony was passed in 1959 to allow a young woman to marry her fiance who died as a result of a burst dam in Frejus, France. Posthumous matrimony has taken place regularly in France since then as several dozen people apply to be wedded to their deceased partners each year. However, the applicant must be able to prove that the deceased partner had the intention to marry before his or her death. Posthumous matrimony in France is mostly a symbolic alliance and does not grant inheritance to the living partner.

More about marriage traditions from around the world:

  • Bridesmaids in royal British weddings are often young children. The youngest bridesmaid for Princess Diana was 5 years old.

  • A Russian groom may be taunted and required to present gifts by the bride's family in order to meet her.

  • In Indian and Pakistani weddings, young female relatives of the bride will take the groom's shoes and will not return them until they receive a money gift.

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