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Moses Isserles (1520–1572) notes that the portable marriage canopy was widely adopted by Ashkenazi Jews (as a symbol of the chamber within which marriages originally took place) in the generation before he composed his commentary to the Shulchan Aruch.There is however a reference of a wedding canopy in the Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 57a: "It was the custom when a boy was born to plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born to plant a pine tree, and when they married, the tree was cut down and a canopy made of the branches".

A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together.

In a more general sense, chupah refers to the method by which nesuin, the second stage of a Jewish marriage, is accomplished.

In Sephardic communities, this custom is not practiced.

Instead, underneath the chuppah, the couple is wrapped together underneath a tallit.

The groom enters the chuppah first to represent his ownership of the home on behalf of the couple.