When I read about this ritual, I had to ask myself (before I read the answer) what could tarring and feathering a spouse-to-be possibly symbolize? And how the heck do they get the tar off? Well apparently its not real tar and the symbolism is actually quite interesting.
Anyway more on this dirty little ritual:
Tar and feathers, anyone? For Scotland’s tradition of blackening of the bride, which has expanded to now include the groom, absolutely anything goes. This includes tars, feathers, pillow stuffing, molasses, dirt, rotting food, sour milk, flour, smashed garbanzo beans, sushi — you name it and you got it, you can certainly pile it on. The blackening takes place prior to the wedding, which at least spares the tux and wedding dress, but any time or location is fair game. Once blackened, the lucky newlywed-to-be is paraded through the streets or tethered to a tree as said “friends” announce the wedding. Blackening supposedly prepares the person for any humiliation that life has yet to bring, as nothing could be as humiliating as being blackened.