An anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same date of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event.
Wedding anniversaries are also often celebrated on the same day of the year as the wedding occurred. Traditional names exist for most of them: for instance, 50 years of marriage is called a “golden wedding anniversary” or simply a “golden anniversary”. There are other well-established connections: 5th Wooden, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 40th Ruby, and 60th Diamond.
The tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbors with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years. On celebration of the 50th, the wife received a wreath of gold. Over time the number of symbols expanded and the German tradition came to assign gifts that had direct connections with each stage of married life. The symbols have changed over time. For example in the United Kingdom, diamond was a well known symbol for the 75th anniversary, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after Queen Victoria’s 60 years on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee.
|2nd||Lily of the Valley|
|9th||Bird of paradise|
|50th||Yellow rose, violet|
|1st||Mother of Pearl|