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Traditions In Russian Marriage

Aug 17, 2007
While once it was obligatory for the young couple to have the family blessing in order to be able to have a wedding ceremony, today families are way much more liberal. However here are a few traditions in Russian marriage.

Russian marriage is a unique experience. It is quite likely to find your bride with the help of marriage agency. These matchmakers will help you learn some basic things for the Russian culture, but you might be curious as to what is the traditional Russian marriage ceremony.

In old times in Russia, it was habitual for the bride and the bridegroom to get acquainted at their wedding ceremony. Very often they were "promised" to each other since early age and actually it was the family and the parents who were making the decision and not the young man or woman.

In the 60's in the last century when America was whooping with hippy lifestyle, the Russian tradition little by little started changing and young people were allowed to date, but any sexual contact before the marriage was strictly forbidden and punished severely.

It was accepted for the man to visit the woman's family and ask her parents for permission to marry her. If the father was positive about this, the woman was obliged to knead bread and to take it to her father and mother in law thus showing her modesty and ability to settle her own family.

Buying the bride was not offensive. Today this is still practiced but more like a tradition, rather than a real trade act. Man was allowed to bid for the woman offering money or luxury presents to her family and trying by all means to prove his wealth. This was practiced mainly to prove that man is able to look after the woman and assure her a good life after the marriage rather than because of greed.

If the bride's family was against any marriage it was not impossible for her to get married. The old tradition was offering a solution called Stealing. Today you might find this funny, but a century ago stealing girls was even a profession. Young men worked out plans in order to trick the family members who were refusing to allow the marriage.

They were paid for doing this usually sponsored by the bridegroom, his family and friends. This was not happening without the active support of the bride. Then in the middle of the night she would elope with her beloved.

This once again proves that Russian women are rebels by nature and ready to leave everything, even the will of their fathers and mothers, but they do this for love and passion.

Traditional Russian marriage is usually taking place and authorized during church ceremony. The largest part of the local population is Christian but being part of the orthodox branch of this religion there are some slight differences from the western ritual. Later during the communist regime and especially during Stalin's government, the church rituals were prohibited and not tolerated.

Nowadays more and more young couples prefer to say "Yes" in front of God along with the formal papers that they sign to make the marriage real for any legal purposes.

Orthodox ceremonies usually take between half an hour to more than four hours if they include all obligatory chants and acts for God's blessing. Most modern couples prefer the short adaptation. Later the marriage moves to a restaurant or other place where all guests have fun and celebrate the event with tons of vodka and delicious Russian meals.
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