National Russian wedding traditions have deep roots in the history. They are full of meaning, folk flavor and conventional wisdom. If you are about to marry in this country or your beloved one is from Russia, then a good decision is to learn some information about traditional wedding ceremonies.
Customs of any nation express a people’s mental world’s picture. Knowing Russian wedding symbolics and understanding premises for appearance of national traditions, you will surely have more chances to have fun at your Russian wedding. Moreover, erudition in this area will help understand your future life-partner better.
Five Wedding Loaf Rules
In Russia people pay great attention to bread-making. Bread is a symbol of prosperity, life fortune, fruitfulness. No wonder that it became a special wedding attribute as well. This ritual bread is called “karavay”. A karavay loaf meaning in Russian wedding is connected with happy marriage. An interesting fact is that a word “karavay” means “bride” in some Russian dialects.
- Let us mention, rules related with wedding loaf serving, presenting, eating are also worth of attention. Here we share some of them with readers of this article.
- One lucky woman. An important thing is to properly prepare . In Russia a bride’s parents are in charge of this. They should find a woman, God-blessed in marriage, whom they could entrust bread dough kneading.
- One family man. Making a karavay takes time and human resources. Several persons take part in its cooking process. Traditions state that only a family man who was never divorced can bake a wedding loaf. His fortune is believed to saturate a loaf and fill hearts of people eating it.
- Size does matter. According to Russian traditions, karavays are big in size. People believe the bigger wedding karavays are, the happier marriage is. Another reason is that every guest should get at least one piece.
- Many layers. Karavays are traditionally multi-layered. Topping is for newlyweds. The middle part is shared with all invited people. The bottom, which is often baked with coins, is given to musicians.
- VIP to cut a karavay. There is one more wedding practice. Only a very important person can cut wedding loaf. Usually the groom’s godfather is appointed for this mission. Sometimes a kid is asked to cut several slices.
Welcome to a Russian wedding reception!
Russian wedding reception usually lasts from two to seven days. The wedding feast consists of several independent parts. They are the bride’s ransom, church, solemn marriage registration in ZAGS or outdoors, city tour and photo session, celebration in a restaurant.
Next days of celebrations go on at parents’ home. A homemade sign is placed above the entrance. It reads, for example, “Daisy Restaurant”. Thus, everyone is invited to share joy of wedding.
At wedding reception the main person (after the newlyweds) is considered to be a Russian toastmaster known as “tamada”. No one wedding feast is held without him (or her). This performer conducts wedding parties, announces bridal waltz, reminds of tossing the bouquet, invites guests to take part in various funny competitions. The tamada welcomes people to try the wedding cake as well as have a drink to the just married couple.
After saying a toast, guests altogether shout loudly: “Gorko!” (meaning in Russian “Bitter!”) inviting the newlyweds to kiss each other in public. This is a pure Russian custom coming from the approximately 18th century.
The story tells that a bride came up to guests with a tray with glasses of vodka. A person who was given a glass had to put some money instead. Then guests drank vodka and shouted “Bitter!” confirming that they were indeed treated to vodka, not water. The groom kissed his bride in order to sweeten bitterness of vodka for people invited.
Nowadays, waiters are serving tables pouring vodka, wine, champagne in glasses. Nevertheless, guests still require the bridal kiss shouting “Bitter!”
Touring the City on The First Wedding Day
In Russia the newlyweds traditionally make a tour of the city after the ZAGS ceremony is completed. As Russian wedding is a luxurious event, the married couple hires a limousine. Guests are welcome on board in order to drink champagne and take pictures.
An obligatory part of touring the city is laying flowers upon World War II memorials. In such a way a new family demonstrates their consciousness and maturity. This is the way to say “Thank you!” to those defenders who made possible today’s peaceful happiness.
The tour of the first wedding day is usually finished with a banquet.
As you see, there are so many beautiful traditions connected with Russian wedding! Following them means to experience the great Russian soul.