In regards to the creator: For lovers of Russian tradition, folklore, and historical past, Kotar’s work is a treasure. The grandson of White Russian immigrants, the 34 yr outdated is an creator of epic fantasy novels impressed by Russian fairy tales.
He’s additionally a deacon of the Russian Orthodox Church, an expert translator, and choir director on the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, the place he lives. Right here is his bio from his weblog, the place he writes about many features of Russia. We extremely advocate following it and subscribing to his e-mail listing to get unique materials.
He has a superb Pinterest web page, and you may comply with him on Fb. Right here is an archive of his work printed on Russia Insider.
Just lately, my darling spouse and I celebrated our third anniversary. Within the midst of writing lengthy swathes of my second novel about bear-riders, seer-birds, legendary battles, and Residing Water, I assumed it might be good to take a while off to examine bridal rituals of outdated Russia.
A few of that is so good that I believe I’ll have to incorporate one other wedding ceremony in my second novel. Right here’s what I discovered from a Russian website: How they used to Get Married in outdated Rus.
1. THE MATCHMAKING
The method of matchmaking began with the sudden arrival of the possible groom along with his complete household on the bride’s home. It was an opportunity for each younger folks to see one another and to be seen. However there’s a symbolic second right here as nicely. The matchmaking was the purpose of no return, the purpose at which the bride and groom entered the ritual house of the preparation for the marriage.
From this second, the bride was severely restricted in motion. She mustn’t even go away the home of her dad and mom! If a younger lady did go away, it was together with her feminine pals, and even then, solely to ask folks to the marriage. The bride was additionally forbidden from doing any house responsibilities. It was a type of demise, crucial for her to be reborn as a brand new particular person, a member of one other household.
2. THE VIEWING
Two or three days after the matchmaking, the groom and his shut pals arrive on the home of the bride for the official viewing. The younger girl is supposed to point out herself off in all her finery, to display all her talents. The younger man does the identical. After this, the mom of the groom examines the bride’s dowry. All that is, in fact, accompanied by songs and ritual wailing (referred to as prichitanie), most frequently executed by the bride’s pals. At this level, the bride can nonetheless determine to refuse the groom by merely not popping out for the viewing.
3. THE ENGAGEMENT
This was the occasion that finalized the settlement between households. You could possibly not refuse to get married after this occasion. The bride and groom have been seated on the desk. Numerous songs are sung to them. The bride says nothing, however she performs the ritual wail. In some homes, skilled wailing ladies have been paid to do the wailing. On this case, the bride merely cried and sighed. The groom additionally stays quiet and emotionless all through the method.
4. THE FAREWELL PARTY (DEVICHNIK)
In outdated Russia, this was not merely the farewell get together for the bride’s pals, however a collection of rituals. It was the time for the preparation of her “magnificence”, some small object that symbolized her life as a single lady.
The “magnificence” may very well be a little bit of wooden adorned by ribbons and bits of fabric, a wreath, or a scarf. After the “magnificence” was ready, it was burned or given to the bride’s closest pal. Regardless of the object was, it was all the time related symbolically with hair. Hair, historically, is a type of personification of a maiden’s magnificence and self-will. By burning it, or giving it away, she symbolically loses her maidenhood.
Then she is washed in a steam room (a metaphor for demise and rebirth), and this finishes the farewell get together. The bride is led out of the steam room “neither alive nor lifeless,” and on this state she is handed to the groom, although the bride and her pals proceed to withstand till the final.
5. BRUSHING THE BRIDE’S HAIR
Instantly after the marriage, the bride’s hair is ritually brushed and plaited. As an alternative of a single braid, her hair is plaited into two. The 2 braids are tied right into a bun on the again of her head, and a particular head masking correct to a married lady (these assorted by area) is placed on her head.
From this second, solely the husband can see the hair of his spouse. To look with an uncovered head to a different man was the identical as adultery, whereas to tear the top masking off a girl’s head was a horrible insult.
All that is symbolic of her change of standing. At this level, the bride begins to “come to life.” She is given the best to maneuver about freely and to do house responsibilities. When she enters her new dwelling, she instantly begins to really feel out her new house.
6. THE AWAKENING OF THE BRIDE
A separate ritual was devoted to the awakening of the bride when she arrives in her new dwelling. It had two meanings. For the bride, it meant the return of her “sight.” The bride, persevering with to come back again to life, now sees the whole lot with new eyes. That is the primary time that the bride and the groom each can see the beloved within the different, the place earlier than, there was no pleasure within the course of.
Typically at this level a pie with no filling is positioned on her head. This symbolizes her coming childbirth. This pie is then wrapped up and positioned in a closed-off room, the place the younger folks at first eat the pie, then spend their first evening collectively. In some areas, the bridal mattress was arrange in a barn, which was additionally related to the concept of fertility.
7. THE FAREWELL
The younger folks then go to the bride’s dad and mom. That is symbolic of the top of the marriage. The occasion is very essential for the bride, who comes now as a visitor to her former home, and never for lengthy. It underlined the irrevocability of all of the transformations that occurred through the wedding ceremony.
I additionally discovered an incredible website the place a number of the outdated songs and wails have been recorded by outdated girls who nonetheless remembered the “method it was once executed.” Test it out right here.
Supply: Nicholas Kotar