The wedding ceremony of Russian Ethnic Group

The wedding ceremony and marriage commemoration days

Russian nationality sees marriage as one of the most important experiences in their life, and attaches a lot of importance to it. People must abide by many rules. Firstly, they strictly forbid the intermarriage of close relatives, including cousin brother and sister; they can marry people of other nationalities, but because of the barrier of religious belief, their intermarriages with the Muslim are very scarce; most of the marriages are based on free courtship, but generally they must firstly get the agreement of their parents. 

Traditionally, before concluding the marriage, introduction of matchmaker and engagement are necessary procedure. After the boy and girl have fallen in love for a certain time, the family of the boy can ask the matchmaker to go to the girl’s home and make an offer of marriage. The mode is they entrust the matchmaker to send a piece of bread scattered with salt. If the girl does not accept the bread, it means she has rejected; if the girl accepts the bread, and personally cut it into pieces for all the people to taste, it means she has agreed. Once the girl agrees the marriage, the parents of double parties can commonly hold simple engagement ceremony, negotiate the date of marriage, and make preparations for the marriage. The Russian nationality is not particular about the betrothal gifts, the bridegroom family can just prepare the necessities of marriage. But the dowries of the bride family are particular and very abundant. 

The ceremony on wedding day is solemn and warm. The wedding starts from the wife family. By the time, the guests that come to make congratulations will firstly take seats and have dinner. After that, they will dance very cheerfully and lively, waiting for the team of the bridegroom to escort the bride. The bridegroom’s team is made up of carriages, sleds, tractors and cars decorated with red silk. The bridegroom, the groomsman and the relatives and friends arrive at the bride’s home sitting on the car, playing the accordion and singing.

According to the traditional habits, the bride family will not open the door at once, but assign a group little boys and girls to block the team. Only after the bridegroom distribute red paper envelops (presents for opening the door) to the little friends can he enter the door. Then, the relatives and friends of double parties will sing and dance, welcome the bridegroom and bride to take seats. All the people have a little tea and pastries, then will prepare to see off the bride who is leaving on the journey. Before leaving, the bride will kneel on a fur-lined jacket covered on the ground to accept her parents’ blessing. 

Seeing goodbye to the bride’s family, the bridegroom and bride will go to the church to hold the ceremony of witnessing the wedding. The bride wearing white silk on the body and laurel on the head, and the bridegroom holding a bunch of flowers and a candle in his hands stand before the photo of God and accept the inquiry of the Father: Do you yourselves want to marry each other? Can you be loyal to and love each other forever? After the bride and bridegroom make the affirmative answer, they will exchange the keepsake of love—ring. After the Father finishes praying, the bride and bridegroom will kneel and salute to photo of God, and kiss each other, and the ceremony is ended. Then, the team will cluster round the bride and bridegroom to the home of bridegroom, hold simple ceremony, then they will entertain the relatives, friends and guests, and hold the dance. Then, people will tease the newlyweds according to the custom of the Han nationality. Three days after the marriage, the bride will visit her parents with her husband, and entertain the relatives and friends again at her parents’ home. When the bride goes back to her husband’s home again, the marriage ceremony is finished. 

To make the marriage stable and durable, the husband and wife love and respect each other, and remain happily married to a ripe old age, Russian people start blessing a series of marriage commemoration days since the wedding day. The names of commemoration days are very unique, such as green marriage, print marriage, wood marriage, copper marriage, tinplate marriage, rose marriage, silver marriage, gold marriage, diamond marriage, happiness marriage and royal crown marriage, and so on. According to the traditional saying, green marriage refers to the day of holding the wedding. At that time, the newlyweds should plant a small tree in their yard, symbolizing they are looking forward to the tree of love to blossom and bear fruits. Print marriage is the commemoration day of 1st anniversary. On this day, the husband and wife will present print and handkerchief to each other, symbolizing their afterward life will be like flowers and brocade.

Wood marriage is the commemoration day of the 5th anniversary. At that time, the relatives and friends will present various kinds of mementos made of wood to the husband and wife, symbolizing that marriage is like the woods grown from seedlings, wishing their love will be as firm and steady as woods, and so on. Each marriage commemoration day has its special deep intension and implied meaning. Russian people pay special attention to the silver marriage, gold marriage, diamond marriage and royal crown marriage, and the memorizing celebrations are very solemn.