Since ancient times, the wedding was considered the main event of human life, therefore, a considerable number of traditions, customs and signs are associated with it. In recent years, interest in Russian weddings has noticeably increased, many young couples want to celebrate their weddings as beautifully and poetically as their distant ancestors did.
The most important wedding ceremonies
A traditional Russian wedding is a whole complex of rituals performed in a strict sequence. The most important wedding ceremonies were matchmaking, conspiracy, bachelorette party, wedding, wedding night and wedding feast. Each of them had a certain meaning. Matchmaking and conspiracy were negotiations between representatives of families about the possible conclusion of marriage between a girl and a boy. The conspiracy consolidated the agreement that had arisen. At the bachelorette party, the bride said goodbye to her "girlish will" before entering a new period of her life. The wedding was a religious and legal registration of marriage, and the first wedding night was its actual fastening. The wedding feast was an expression of joy and public approval of the new family union.
The central characters of the wedding ceremony
The wedding ceremony took place in the form of a kind of performance, in which strictly defined characters participated, whose behavior was subject to established rules. Despite the fact that the bride and groom were central characters, they were assigned a passive role. At the beginning of the wedding, the bride had to demonstrate in every possible way her unwillingness to get married, and the groom, on the contrary, had to demonstrate love and respect for her.
The most important role in the wedding ceremony was assigned to the boyfriend, who was the manager of the wedding on the part of the groom. His duties included control over the implementation of traditions, entertaining guests with jokes and sentences, protecting young people, their relatives and guests from evil spirits. By the way, a sorcerer was necessarily invited to the wedding, fearing that if he was ignored, he could cause irreparable harm to the young.
Trip to the crown
The wedding ceremony was based on a complex interweaving of Christian and pagan beliefs. From paganism came the idea that a girl, getting married, dies for her past girlish life and, after the first wedding night, is reborn in a new quality. Magical actions designed to protect the young from negative influences were also pagan in nature. The traditions of the Orthodox Church began to actively take root in the folk wedding ceremony from the second half of the 17th century. A parental blessing and a church wedding became mandatory.
The trip to the crown was accompanied by the observance of a number of customs. Early in the morning, the wedding train left for the bride's house. The number of supplies must have been odd, but not less than three. We drove along the bypass road to confuse the "evil forces". The bride's relatives built all sorts of obstacles on the train path, for overcoming which the groom had to pay a ransom. Near the bride's house, her bridesmaids put up feigned resistance, which, again, could only be overcome with the help of a good ransom.
Before the trip to the crown, the bride and groom were put on fur. The matchmaker combed their hair with a comb dipped in wine or strong honey. After that, they were showered with hops or grain mixed with money. All these ceremonies promised prosperity and prosperity to the future family. After that, wedding candles were lit. They brought their dishes and bread wine to the church, which the priest offered to drink to the bride and groom three times. After the third glass, the groom smashed his glass on the ground. After that, the wedding candles were molded together and placed in a tub of wheat, which was in the heads of the newlyweds' bed.
Upon their return, on the path of the young, "gates" were lined up or bonfires were lit, which served as a talisman. In order for the Brownie to take her into her house, the bride released the black chicken brought with her. The friend christened the path of the young with a whip, and the matchmaker swept the road with a broom. Their parents greeted them with bread and salt, and then a wedding feast called the "prince's table" began.