Cossack Wedding on the Don

  Marriage custom is a form that can best reflect national culture. Because of living together with residents of different races, the weddings on both sides of the Don have both the traditional elements of ancient Gosak weddings and the shadow of East Slavs wedding customs.
  The wedding process in the Don Valley is divided into three stages: proposal, marriage and post-wedding
  The first stage begins with the selection of the bride. If the man’s father is not the matchmaker, there is also an inspection of the matchmaker to see some girls to be married. The woman will also inspect the man’s family, and then propose a marriage.
  If there is a Cossack girl with a handsome appearance, a winton personality, and a decent dowry, the threshold of her family will be broken by the matchmaker. The matchmaker is either specially invited by the man, or the boy’s godparent, or the biological father. It varies from place to place. Every move of the matchmaker at the woman’s house is carried out according to the procedure: when they come to the woman’s house, they greet relatives and relatives first, and they do not sit at the table unless they are invited; they speak in allegorical language. “We are kind people, not robbers. We are hunters from other places. We have captured wild beasts, minks and foxes. This time, the mink was disturbed, and the smart mink ran away. We followed the trail and found your house. It turns out that this mink is the beautiful and lovely daughter of Guifu.” “It is said that Guifu has good breed ewes, and we have good rams. Can we raise the sheep together.” “My boy is sick. Now, I heard that only your house has blue medicinal flowers that save his life, so we dared to ask your house for it.”
  Sometimes the matchmaker arrives at the woman’s house with a croissant—a stuffed bread that is used at weddings. If the bride’s parents agree to the marriage, the bread will be eaten at the dinner; if the marriage proposal is rejected, the matchmaker will take the bread away. If the woman likes the lad very much, it will soon be “high-five engagement”. The woman’s parents used cloth-wrapped hands and high-fiving the matchmaker while saying “good time”. Because the old Cossacks believed that bare hands meant poverty, “if you stretch out someone’s hand or someone else’s hand is not wrapped in cloth such as clothes and scarves, the old custom thinks it’s a murderous light.” After the high-five engagement, Prospective couples are allowed to meet, sit side by side at engagement banquets, and entertain matchmakers together. At the same time, there are also some ceremonies: the representative of the male party puts the gifts prepared in advance on the shoulders of the future daughter-in-law, and the parents of the woman put the double ear hats or other gifts on the shoulders of the future son-in-law. Dowry and dowry are also negotiated during the banquet.
  The marriage proposal continues. The girl’s name flower has an owner. According to custom, the matchmaker (or the father of the prospective groom) invites the woman’s close relatives and friends to inspect the man’s property: the house or other conditions that serve as the material basis of the marriage.
  The bride-to-be then prepares for the wedding. In many places they spend a few days or a week with friends and family. According to the customs of South Russia, these gatherings are lively and interesting: young people dance all night, the new couple sits in the corner, and from time to time they are asked to use body language to express the content of the lyrics to prove that they are not physically disabled. This is also a physical examination before marriage.
  A week before the wedding, the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be gather with their friends to spend their last single lives. On the eve of the wedding, some women are invited to the bride’s house to sing happy songs, and the groom-to-be attends a banquet for the bride’s girlfriend and his parents. That night, the woman sent a large pillow to the groom’s house, which is part of the bride’s dowry, but it has an unusual meaning: the bride’s property will be transferred to the groom’s name along with the pillow. The bride’s close friend also gave her mother-in-law a pocket pillow decorated with paper roses. At this time, the groom will be lifted by his friends and thrown onto the bride’s bedding, symbolizing that he has the right to sleep here.
  The second stage is the day of the wedding. Early in the morning, the groom accepts the blessings of his parents and organizes a welcoming team. The welcoming procession is made up of guests, holding flowers, driving a carriage decorated with ribbons and the groom to the bride’s house.
  At the bride’s house, the mother woke her daughter in tears, and the girls sang happy songs to help the bride dress up. Before the arrival of the bride-to-be, the bride should thank her parents for their nurturing grace and wish her parents a happy and healthy life in the future. She was then placed under an icon worshipped at home, accompanied by a relative. While waiting for the wedding procession, women and children surrounded the bride to protect her from being snatched by the matchmaker. While waiting, the relatives sang some melancholy and sad songs to express their remorse.
  When the groom’s team arrived, a lively scene of robbing the bride began: the groom and his boyfriend wanted to approach the bride, but the girls closed the door and refused to let them go. The groom had to use candy and wine to “buy” his family, a ceremony called redemption of the bride. He also had to “buy” the seat next to the bride at the wedding banquet at her parents’ house in front of the church, distribute gifts to the guests, and give the girls vodka to drink. Once seated, the officiant will tie the two small wine bottles and two wooden spoons together with wedding ribbons. The bride and groom go to the church by carriage, and the way to the church is made of wooden blocks to avoid redemption again. In particular, a middle-aged man who is somewhat psychic is to be entertained. Because in life there are always two forces: good and evil, good and bad. Only by entertaining him, on the way to the church, will the newlyweds live happily and peacefully in the future.
  After receiving the blessing of the priest in the church, it is necessary to change the girly hairstyle for the bride. The newlyweds return to the groom’s house, the in-laws greet them with icons, bread and salt, and give them things to protect them from envious, hateful eyes; people sprinkle the newlyweds with grains of wheat, buckwheat, and sweets , I wish them a happy, prosperous and sweet new life. The grand wedding is about to begin.
  At the wedding banquet, the guests ate the buns baked by the groom’s house, drank vodka, and sang songs of blessing. The newlyweds will receive some gifts: there are roosters, piglets, calves and lambs, which means giving birth to a precious child early.
  The carnival of the day is marked by sending the newlyweds to the bridal chamber. Before entering the bridal chamber, the guests once again raised their glasses to wish the newlyweds a happy and sweet future life and full of children.
  The third stage is the continuation of the carnival based on returning to the door. According to the Cossack tradition, in the early morning of the wedding day, relatives and friends use songs to wake up the sleepy newlyweds. After breakfast, the newlyweds go home with their parents and brothers. Although there are differences in different regions, the common point is to see the bride’s chastity towel. There is a hidden way: the mother-in-law brings a plate of pancakes to the new uncle. If the groom eats along the edge, the bride is a virgin with integrity; if the groom eats from the middle, it will be a great deal for the bride’s family. shame.
  On the third day after the wedding, the carnival continued. In many dramatic games, jokes began to be staged one by one: there were “the bride and the magical power”, there were special gifts prepared by the in-laws for the bride, and there was a reproduction of the “battle” for the bride – “sending the orphaned fox”.
  On the fourth day after the wedding, all the guests gathered at the bridegroom’s house again, drinking and binge-watching again, and used the hotel to burn scarves wrapped in coins for the bridegroom to put out, or throw coins into the fire, and the bridegroom extinguished and collected the coins. I hope the newcomers will be diligent and thrifty in their future lives.
  On the fifth day after the wedding, the final feast is held at the bride’s family. Guests are also limited to close relatives. The cost of this banquet is paid for by the newlyweds’ savings. After the banquet, we will see friends and relatives again. The wedding is over.