Wedding – redemption and blessing

A traditional wedding lasted 6 days and included many different stages: preparations, which included conspiracies, matchmaking, betrothal, preparations for the wedding and asking guests, and then already the bachelorette party, redemption, blessing, unblessing and going to the wedding, nuptials in the church, wedding feast, relocation, nuptials, sharing of the korovai and elopement. Here we will focus attention on the parts held on the wedding day, before the nuptials in church.

The feasting began at the homes of the newlyweds – all guests came to the house appropriate in terms of their collegiality. At the groom’s house a band played, which announced the beginning of the wedding, and with special wedding marches welcomed the guests. After refreshments and the blessing of the groom by his family, the entire procession, headed by the starost and starchest, would set off for the bride’s home. Along the way, the young man would encounter pledges – or so-called “gates.” At each of them he should redeem himself. As Maria Karpinska (b.1952) recalls: “The youngster couldn’t get past something like this, because it boded badly for their marriage. That he just passes (…) his hardships and most often…well variously people augured (…)He passed, then he did badly, that is, the Lord God did not bless him anymore. “1 The most important gate was set up in front of the entrance to the bride’s household, where the young man had to redeem his future wife from another family. Two families, headed by the starosta and the teams, bargained for the young one. Money, vodka and cake were paid, and the whole event was theatrical and humorous. On more than one occasion, attempts were made to sell weed, other girls, or a bachelor dressed in a gown. They showed off by inventing on the spot chants that fit the situation and appropriate responses to the opposing team. For example, they sounded like this:

The bride’s team: “Shake your thalers, you own us”.
Young’s team: “We thalers do not have, with you we possess”.
Young’s team: “You wanted to sit with us, it was to get yourselves stools”.
Young’s team: “After weddings we go, stools we do not carry”.
Young’s team: “Become Jasiu rich, waiting garland, ducats” etc….

During the entire wedding, including the redemption, it was forbidden to make fun of the bride and groom. It ended in force after the nuptials.
In our area, the groom brought korowaj as a gift. This was a ceremonial bread, considered sacred, as a gift of the God-Father, Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. It served the role of bread, which had to be shared with everyone. It symbolized fertility and fertility, and, it was believed, the future life of the young depended on its appearance. If it grew beautiful and large it was supposed to ensure the young couple’s happiness and success.

After a successful redemption, the bride and groom’s team, along with music, were invited to the bride’s home, where they hosted each other and sang. There was also a bargain for the rod – a very important prop that was a symbol of power at the wedding. It was used by the starosta when he wanted to speak on behalf of the groom. The rod was dressed with feathers, which ensured the happiness of the young couple, other young people tried during the wedding to pinch some feathers and thus take for themselves some of the happiness of the young. The starost’s job was to keep an eye on their luck and to conduct the course of the wedding.

Before leaving for the church, a blessing was held. Otherwise known as a bow or apology. They were preceded by an oration by the starost:

“Behold, these two people are going to God’s church, to the state of marriage.
Bless them father and mother, bless them both,
for they are your children both.”

The bride and groom knelt, and the parents, along with their immediate family, blessed them by saying their wishes and making the sign of the cross on their foreheads.

The blessing was followed by the unction. The best man would seat the bride on a table in the center of the room and ask her parents for permission to unbraid her hair. Once permission was granted, he would remove the ribbons and the bride’s brother would unbraid her hair. The symbol of hair unbraided in public signified a farewell to the maiden status – as it was no longer appropriate for a married woman to walk around in public in loose hair. According to the oldest accounts, at this point the young woman’s hair was cut off. In later times, the young man could pay his brother and thus buy out the young woman’s braids, which were then left uncut. The unbraiding was followed by the removal of the young from the house, to which they returned as a married couple.