Wedding traditions in Ukraine | Karavai, rushnyk and family hearth

Wedding traditions in Ukraine

Ukrainian wedding traditions

The word “marriage” has ancient Slavic roots. “Brothers” in Old Church Slavonic meant “to take a bride.” To marry a girl is to hand her over to a man – her future husband. New relationships have always been so significant for the newlyweds and society that wedding traditions appeared, which the young had to strictly follow.

It is possible that the very word “tradition” (lat. Tredere – to transmit) arose precisely due to the wedding. It is believed that observance of wedding ceremonies is the key to a happy family life. Farewell to home and girlhood marks a noisy ransom. What is the significance of other wedding traditions? Can they change over time?

Karavay at a wedding

After the solemn registration, the parents meet the newlyweds with bread and salt. The essence of the “loaf” tradition is to “annoy each other” and determine the right to headship in the family. Such wedding omens have been revered for hundreds of years. In the beginning, competing, the young bite or break the loaf. Whose piece is larger, he will be the head of the family.

Then the broken piece of bread is salted to each other. The meeting ends with the unchanging words of mothers: “Let this be the bitter and last salt in your life!” Today, the wedding tradition is kept largely out of respect for the parents. Many brides and grooms avoid this ritual, considering it obsolete.

Family hearth

Earlier, after the parents said a greeting word at the table, the “family hearth” was lit. Traditionally, he had to “work out” the entire wedding and not burn out during the festive evening. The meaning of the action is the transfer by the parents of warmth, care and experience to the new family.

Previously, this was helped by the oven heated by the parents, who met the couple after church. The furnace is now replaced by a massive burning candle on the table. Modern wedding hosts often interpret this custom at a wedding, turning the celebration into a beautiful candlelight event at the very end of the evening.

There can be many variations of this tradition: with the participation of parents and a beautiful speech about the family from the host, with the participation of all guests and wishes from them. The modern meaning of tradition is the openness of the new family’s home to guests. A burning flame is a symbol of hospitality.

First dance

In the era of paganism, the first dance of the newlyweds symbolized the mutual desire to create a family and go through all the tests together. Each movement of the ritual dance was filled with sacred meaning. With the advent of Christianity, the dancing of the young began to be persecuted as a manifestation of evil spirits. The young were forced to sit at the head of the table during the whole celebration and not participate in entertainment events.

The revival of the wedding dance tradition took place during the reign of Peter the Great. The opening of the wedding ball with the dance of the bride and groom has been included in the celebration program forever. Today, the first dance of the young also opens a dance block for guests. It doesn’t matter whether it is a waltz, Latin American tango or rock and roll. The main thing is that the composition reflects the real feelings of the couple.

Throwing a bouquet

Previously, the Slavs did not throw the bouquet. The groom gave the bride the most beautiful flowers. Since ancient times, girls have been dancing around them. The bouquet was received by the one who stopped in front of the flowers. Participation in the round dance was a sign to the guys that future brides are ready for matchmaking.

In the West, it was believed that the bride’s dress has a special power of attraction for men. The girlfriends tried in any way to get a piece of the dress. To preserve the outfit and distract the hunters for “profit”, a bouquet was thrown into the crowd. Meanwhile, the bride was hiding.

Today, at a wedding, the tradition of throwing a bouquet is in demand among unmarried girls. A caught bouquet means an early marriage. Many brides value their flowers and believe that they should not be given away under any circumstances, so double bouquets often fly to their friends. And the original owner of flowers is in no hurry to reveal the secret of the substitution.

Throwing grains at wedding

In Ukraine, upon their return from church, the heads of the young always “rained” hops, grain, and money. It is believed that this tradition is rooted in the beliefs of peasants for whom rain was a symbol of fertility. That is why the shedding was carried out in an inverted fur coat, symbolizing a cloud. Small coins were collected by unmarried women. According to legend, they could not spend this money. Keeping the money collected at the wedding at home promised the girls an early marriage.

Nowadays, young people are showered after the ceremony. The meaning of this shedding is the well-being of the couple, the wish for happiness, wealth and good luck.

Other traditions

Cutting a wedding cake, smashing glasses, the tradition of planting a tree at a wedding … Wedding traditions are countless. Not all of them have originally Slavic roots, but they all have become an integral part of the celebration of modern marriage.

Customs are gradually adapting to the needs of today. Preserving the beauty and depth of content, they rely on a person’s connection with the people around him, and therefore do not disappear. Following the example of generations accompanies the creation of a new family and makes each holiday unforgettable.

Wishing to embody ancient customs at your own wedding or create your own unique family tradition, we will tell you what it can be and how to implement it. We will create a wedding for you, which you will proudly remember after many years of life together.