Presence of various wedding ceremonies of peoplesof the world testifies to the important role played by the institution of marriage in the life of society. As a rule, observance of certain rituals does not only concern the wedding itself, but also other related events, from the offer of the hand and the heart to the engagement.
Wedding rites and customs that existed inantiquity of the Slavs, and modern rituals are interconnected. The latter are a continuation of the former and have a great similarity with them, although life has changed greatly since that time. Below we will consider both the traditions of the ancient Slavs and modern Russian rituals, as well as some Western customs.
The system of ancient wedding traditions
Wedding ceremonies in Russia are a wholea complex of traditions, formed in the process of people's life. All of them are closely interrelated, consistent, flowing from one another and have a certain cause of their origin, which is explained by the existent beliefs and facts of economic life.
This system of wedding rituals was formed around the 15th century. It includes a number of stages, such as:
- Smotryiny farm.
- Crying (or exhaling).
- Bachelorette party (bachelor party).
- Redemption of the bride.
- The wedding ceremony.
- Wedding feast.
Wedding ceremonies of the Slavs include manyvarious elements, among which: a mandatory set of acts of actors (bride, groom, boyfriend), prichet (crying), dancing, ritual songs. Next, let's look at how the wedding celebration itself was conducted.
The first wedding day is the sequence of events
The history of the wedding rites of the Slavs tells that on the first day the following events took place:
- Arrival of the groom for the bride.
- Following to the crown.
- Moving the dowry.
- Arrival of the couple in the house to the groom.
- Parental blessing.
In some areas, there were other options for the development of events. So, for example, in the northern regions the following scheme of wedding rituals of the first day was applied:
- Hike to the bath.
- Communicate the bride with her friends.
- Arrival of the groom in the house of the bride.
- The conclusion of the young to the future husband and guests.
- Serving the guests.
The main in the second scenario was the conclusion of the brideto the public. Still this ancient wedding ceremony was called "a conclusion before the table." Young dressed up especially beautifully, making over it magical actions (conspiracy for happiness and luck). On the first day all the guests stayed overnight in the house, and the groom and the bride relied on sleeping together. This meant that the wedding itself was held as such. On the second day, there were such wedding ceremony events as a wedding ceremony in the church and a feast in the groom's house.
The role of pals
Boyfriend (another option - buddy) was one ofmost important participants in the ritual. As a rule, he was selected from the bridegroom's relatives, for example, it was his friend or brother. In some cases there could be two or three such figures, but the main one was necessarily assigned. An indispensable accessory groomsman was embroidered wedding rushnik, which was tied over his shoulder. Sometimes they were tied at once two.
Despite the fact that each of the participants of the ceremonyknew the order of its conduct, the friend was assigned the role of leader. He followed the correctness and consistency of actions and, if necessary, prompted the actors when to lament, dance, sing, buy out the bride. Wedding ceremonies in Russia assumed caustic jokes about the friends, to whom he was supposed to give a decent answer in a similar vein. As for the groom, he said little words at the wedding.
Arrival of the groom
On the morning of the first wedding day, the friend went to the bride’s house first to make sure that she was ready for her betrothed’s visit. Young at this point was supposed to dress up and be in a red corner.
After that, the wedding train consisting of friends, the groom, his friends and relatives went to the bride's house. They sang special wedding songs, called "poezhansky".
Upon the arrival of the groom, there was a ransom of the entrance to the house, which was made either by himself or by a friend. It could be one or several ransom, for example, the gate, door, path to the house were bought.
Redemption of the bride
Bride price at a wedding is one ofessential elements of the rite, which is preserved to this day and is very popular. Her buy or girlfriends, or from his father and mother. At the same time, the girl is hidden until the bridegroom deposits money.
It used to exist to deceive the futurehusband A bride was brought to him, on which a scarf from a dense fabric was thrown, he used to play the role of a modern transparent veil. To look at the narrowed, you had to make the required amount of money. Sometimes the bride was replaced by another girl or even an elderly woman, which caused a cheerful laugh and the need for redemption.
Before and after the wedding
Before you go to church forholding a wedding ceremony, the mother and father of the bride blessed the young, holding an icon in their hands. Then they were offered to break bread with salt. After that, the bride was tied up with a "girlish" braid.
When did a married couple return to the houseafter the completion of the church ceremony, the following occurred. The girl was braided with two braids, which were considered "woman's", and her hair was hidden under a special headdress - a warrior. There were options when this was done during a feast or, like in the Old Believers, between the rituals of betrothal and wedding or before the betrothal.
After the wedding, the groom drove the bride to himhome, where the young were blessed by the groom's parents — also with images and bread and salt. In antiquity, there was a tradition with pagan roots, the essence of which consisted in the fact that those who arrived from the church were seated on a fur coat. The skin of the animal (often bear) acted as a guardian. Bread, which bit the groom and the bride, was also attributed to magical significance. Later he was given to the cow, which was supposed to bring good offspring.
The feast was held in the groom's house, where by the arrivalguests were laid tables. Great wedding songs were sung between food and libations. In addition to the bride and groom, they were welcomed by their parents and boyfriend.
The celebration could go from two to three.days The second day of the wedding feast was held in the house of the bride. If the festivities were delayed for another day, then the guests, the heroes of the occasion and their parents again went to the groom.
As popular beliefs say, the bear isprotected from evil forces, evil spirits "can not stand" his appearance. Therefore, the wedding was attended by a man who was covered with a bear skin, and he symbolically defended the young from all evil.
Later, the bear began to be attributed a beneficial effect on strengthening the childbearing function, which to a greater extent determined the presence of his image at the wedding ceremony.
The bride and groom were called "bear" and"bear", often in a bear skin, they spent the first night of the joint. The marriage symbol of this sacred animal was not only in the times of paganism, but it remained with the transition to the Christian faith.
Other Protective Rites
In addition to the presence of the bear image at the wedding, there were other rituals designed to protect the young family.
Here are some of them:
- In order to “mislead” the dark forces during the matchmaking period, it was necessary to get to the house of the bride in a roundabout way.
- In the course of the entire route of the wedding train in the direction of the church, bells jingled in the horse harness, protecting them from all evil.
- Young people were led around a tree or a pillar in order to “dizzy” otherworldly “ill-wishers”.
- The groom had to bring the bride into the house in his arms, without stepping on the threshold. So the brownie agreed to take her to the new family.
- Before you sit down at the table, you had to refrain from eating - this helped protect yourself from spoilage. And also at the wedding it was forbidden to swear.
- Shedding grains of cereals or hops to the bride and the bride was designed to attract wealth to the house and to encourage the birth of many children in the family.
- To strengthen the bond between the future husband and wife, they mixed wine from their glasses, stretched the threads between their houses, tied their hands with a wedding towel.
Laying and awakening young
Laying the bride and groom in bedhappened either in the evening or at night. The marriage bed, which the groom was obliged to buy, was prepared by a matchmaker or bedwoman. The latter was chosen from among the relatives of the bride, she guarded sleeping accessories from spoiling at the time when the dowry was delivered from the girl's parents' house to the groom, as well as during the feast. When “selling”, she was stuffing a price that could exceed the “cost” of the bride herself.
In the morning or after several hoursmother-in-law, matchmaker or boyfriend woke up a young couple. Often thereafter, guests were presented with evidence that the bride was a virgin, showing off her nightgown or bed sheet.
Another way to demonstrate the innocence of a girlwere the groom's answers to the ritual questions or eating them scrambled eggs, pie, pancake from the middle or from the edge. If the girl did not justify hopes for “honesty”, then she herself, parents could be ridiculed, put a collar on their necks, and smeared gates with tar.
The second day of the festivities
Usually, the second wedding day was dedicated to conducting various wedding ceremonies, for example, the following:
- Search for ryochki. It consisted in the fact that “Yarochka”, that is, the sheep that the bride represented, was hiding in the house, and the person representing the “shepherd” was looking for her. They were any of the relatives, guests, or all gathered together.
- The hike of the young fish over the water with the adaptation to the yoke of two oars, which indicated its dexterity.
- Floor marking. Guests scattered around money, grain, garbage. The new wife had to make a thorough cleaning, which the surrounding gave an assessment.
- The visit of the groom to the house of the mother-in-law, who was called “hlibiny”, “egg”. Mother-in-law treated him with eggs or pancakes, which were covered with a handkerchief. The son-in-law put money on top of the handkerchief, buying food.
- Traveling around the village. Guests dressed up in clothes wearing a joking, grotesque character, pretended to be various folklore characters.
- Splitting viburnum. A young ham and a jar of wine were put on the table, which was plugged with a bundle of straw and tied with a red ribbon. After waking young, they go to regale relatives and friends in their homes. Upon the return of a friend, he “crushed” the gammon, “split” Kalina, spreading wine.
- Making viburnum. If the bride was chaste, then her parents were sent a bottle of wine to which they attached a branch of viburnum and ears of corn. Kalina symbolized the “honesty” of the bride and was called her “beauty”. If the bride was "dishonest", ornaments in the form of viburnum were removed from everywhere: with a loaf, from the walls, and instead of them were stuck pine branches.
Modernity and tradition
In today's reality, modernWedding ceremonies include both new rituals and adherence to ancient traditions. As a rule, the ritual of matchmaking is not respected, the young agree on among themselves, and their parents are simply notified. Weddings are bought for the wedding, a dress for the bride (usually white), a veil or a hat replacing her, or a fancy dress for the groom (most often a classic).
By analogy with the wedding train from the Slavsmodern Russian bride and groom with friends and witnesses arrive at the wedding place on a rented vehicle, decorated with balls, ribbons, dolls, enlarged layouts of wedding rings. Often a white limousine is used as a wedding car.
Registration in the registry office
Marriage registration takes place in the registry office or moreSolemnly, in the Palace of Marriages specially designated for this ceremony. It is carried out by civil servants under the march of Mendelssohn, with the wishes of a happy family life. In this case there are guests, among whom are witnesses from the bride and groom, confirming their signatures.
According to the results of the ceremony, during which eachof those who marry express their consent to become a husband and wife, a marriage certificate is issued. Recently, more and more couples decide to seal their relationship with a wedding ceremony in the temple. But this is not necessarily done during the wedding, sometimes even after several years of married life.
Champagne and bridal bouquet
Upon completion of the registration ceremony, the groom andthe bride become husband and wife. They are congratulated on this momentous event, they drink champagne and break glasses for good luck. They are thrown money under their feet, grains of rice or wheat, which clearly echoes the old custom and symbolizes the attraction of a couple to the house of wealth and fertility.
The tradition of throwing the bridal bouquetalso originates in antiquity. Previously, the groom himself collected in the field certain flowers that were a symbol of certain goods he desired for himself and his beloved, for example, such as longevity, loyalty, devotion. Bouquet girl pressed to his chest. Throw a bouquet began not so long ago, taking an example from the western newlyweds. It is believed that the girl who caught him will marry in the coming year.
Dance of the young at the wedding
At the ancient Slavic wedding, of course, notdid without dancing. But special attention to the dance of the bride and groom was given only the last time. The tradition concerning the dance of the young at the wedding, as well as the fling of the bouquet, came to us from the countries of the West. As a rule, this is a classic waltz.
However, this is not a dogma, seeking to makeoriginality in the conduct of the wedding ceremony, young people choose and fast, temperamental dances, such as tango. And also it can be modern original compositions. Dances are specially taught before the wedding, seeking the help of professionals.
Veil of the ancient Slavs
The veil itself was not transparent before;It was a shawl of dense fabric of a bright, often red color. As you know, red meant beautiful. The role of this shawl was to protect the bride, before she became a wife, from damage and the evil eye.
According to our ancestors, along with the visibleand the tangible world existed the world of evil spirits, which constantly harassed man, and he had to be protected from him. As mentioned above, the bride was taken out to the guests in a scarf, completely covering her face and hair. And only after the groom bought it, the handkerchief was removed.
Wedding ceremony "Removing the veil"
This rite is a synthesis of old Slavic and new Western traditions. Nowadays it looks like this:
- It is held closer to the end of the wedding.
- The bride's veil is taken off by the groom's mother, her future mother-in-law.
- After the bride’s dance with her father, the guests are handed out candles.
- The father sends the bride to his future son-in-law, instructing her to love, respect and protect her throughout their family life.
- In the middle of the room a chair is placed on which a pillow is placed, which is a symbol of the spiritual and physical connection of the newlyweds, the harmonious relationship between them.
- The groom sits down on a chair, seating his beloved in his lap.
- Guests with candles surround the newlyweds.
- The mother-in-law approaches the bride, removes the hairpins from the veil and removes her from the girl.
- The last hairpin is passed by the mother to her son, which symbolizes the arrival of the new mistress in the house.
- In conclusion, the bride's mother puts a handkerchief on her, leading her off to a happy married life.
From the story of the ancient Slavic and modernRussian wedding ceremonies can be seen that the latter are often intertwined with the first, derived from them, which adorns today's wedding ceremonies, making them more varied and spiritually richer. And also there is a connection with Western traditions, which are positively perceived by the current youth.