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Superstitions in Russian Wedding Traditions

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Russian wedding traditions have been derived from its own past culture and tradition. If you are a Russian or attending a Russian wedding, you will find it interesting to study the reason behind the various customs and traditions in Russian marriages. You may observe certain customs which are no more than superstitions:

1- Russians don’t marry in the Month of May. Most of them believe that marriages contracted in May are destined to be unhappy. It is considered a difficult month and any activity taken up in that month is considered to fail. The root of this belief is traced back to the pronunciation of Mai in Russian which is similar to Mayastsa or to suffer.

2- Another Russian Marriage Custom that you will find interesting is the injunction that you should not cross the path of the newly weds either on their way to ZAGS (Registry Office), Church or back. Russians believe that this will bring the couple bad luck and only witches and ill wishers cut the path of the bride and groom.

3- Who will rule the family? You will find that Russians believe that whoever steps on the carpet in the Registry office first or who enters the church first will rule the household. Similarly, if the bride steps into the house first, she will rule the home. The custom of carrying the bride across the threshold is a variation on this custom and belief. 4- When the bride and groom enter the home, the parents of the groom will treat them with Khleb-sol as per Russian wedding traditions. This is a round loaf with a saltcellar on the top. The couple must take a bite of the bread without touching it with their hands. Russians believe that whoever, takes the bigger bite will be the head of the family!

5- Another superstition associated with Russian weddings is that if the groom drops the ring while putting it on, it is a bad omen. You will find that Russians also tell the bride that she should not take the empty ring box from the groom. It should be handed over to an unmarried woman in the crowd. The young woman receiving the empty ring box can expect to get married soon!

6- If you are one of the unmarried at the wedding you will also be advised to pull the table cloth with the wedding dinner on it, towards yourself and to try and catch the banquet that the bride throws over her head.

7- Russian brides are told that they should take extra care of their shoes. Russian wedding traditions and beliefs say that if the bride’s shoe gets damaged in any way, it will be a bad omen. You will find brides putting in money in the left shoe for luck. Bridegrooms too put money into their boots during a traditional Russian wedding. The bride is expected to take his shoes off on his wedding night and the groom will give her the money.

Changes in Russian Wedding Traditions after Demise of USSR

Having said so much about the superstitions and Russian wedding traditions in the past, let us now see what actually happens in a Russian marriage post the demise of USSR.

Modern Russians are free to select their life partner. You will find that a man asks the girl for her willingness and that is it! There is no formal engagement ceremony and no exchange of rings. Close friends and relatives may be informed about their intentions, but there is no compulsion. The wedding usually takes place 1-3 months from the date of engagement. A minimum of one month waiting period must lapse between the engagement and the actual date of marriage.

Brides and grooms do not talk about being engaged, they merely say that they have handed in an application. Why? You must be aware that Russian Church marriages are not legally recognized any longer in the new USSR. Hence a civil marriage ceremony is a must. The date of the wedding depends on the availability of appointment with ZAGS or Department of Registrations of births, deaths, marriages, divorces etc. The couple applies for a date in writing and a request for the registration of the marriage and this application you will find needs to be accompanied by an appropriate fee. This fee will be forfeited if the bride and groom do not appear on the date of marriage or begin a dispute after the application is made.

In Russian wedding traditions, the bride has to buy or make her own wedding dress. This dress can not pass from mother to daughter.

You will find that Russians love luxurious cars and big black ones are the best. So a train of big black cars are normally ordered for the bride and the groom and the guests on the wedding day for taking them to the ZAGS. It is believed that the more the number of cars the richer the display of wealth.

The civil ceremony at the ZAGS, you will find, is attended only by the family members and close friends. The family, you will find will feed the bride and groom a little salt and bread for prosperity before the ceremony begins.

The wedding ceremony is called "brakosochetanie”. The bride and groom will be asked to sign in the register. Two witnesses will also sign on the register as witnesses to the marriage. The bride and groom, then, exchange “engagement rings” as the wedding rings are called. The bride and groom wear the rings on the right hand on the finger next to the “pinky”. They will wear the ring on the left hand when they get divorced.

You will find an interesting aspect of the Russian wedding traditions is to send the bride and groom with our without friends on a city tour immediately following the wedding. The couple pay homage to the memory of those who died for the country and who served the nation. They arrive at the reception after two or three hours of tour.

You will note that the Russian marriage reception spans two days with the expenses being shared by both families.

You will find that Russians love to sing and dance and weddings are considered occasions at which to indulge this passion. A toast is drunk to the bride and the groom and the champagne glasses are thrown to the floor and shattered to bring luck to the couple. Plenty of food is made available to the guests who sing and dance between eating and drinking.

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