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chuppah

in a Jewish wedding, the portable canopy beneath which the couple stands while the ceremony is performed. Depending on the local custom and the preference of the bride and groom, the huppa may be a simple Jewish prayer shawl (tallit) suspended from four poles, a richly embroidered cloth of silk or velvet, or a flower-covered trellis. In ancient times huppa signified the bridal chamber, but the canopy now symbolizes the home to be established by the newlyweds. In popular usage the term huppa may refer to the wedding ceremony itself.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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