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Russian weddings and their craziest traditions

Russian weddings are known for their great festive atmosphere and fascinating traditions. Together with a tamada (also called a wedding host), who guides the guests through the day, the invitees enjoy the wedding celebration just like the bride and groom do.

The classic shoe stealing, the veil removal – there is a whole range of wedding customs and traditions that you can look forward to.

We present to your attention the 5 weirdest traditions that you can expect to see at a typical Russian wedding.

1. Courtship

An old Russian tradition when the lovebirds’ relatives come to get to know each other better. Every region has its peculiarities of this tradition. And they are still living, being supplemented with new tricks, but real Russian brides are fond of it.

The groom’s parents need to say to the bride’s mother and father, “You have the goods – we have the purchaser.” The man’s family may also present the girl with family jewelry. It is a sign of the future hospitable home of the young couple. A lady’s parents then serve dinner to the guests.

2. Loaf with salt

This one concerns a wedding party.

The parents of the bride and groom wait for their arrival at the celebration with a loaf and a small bowl of salt. The newly-married couple tears off a piece of the loaf (both take a bit of it at the same time). The person who has the largest one will be in charge of the house. Then they dab the pieces of bread into the bowl so that they are abundantly covered with salt and feed each other with it. During the whole process, the parents say that these pieces of salt bread should be the most unpleasant thing that the bride and groom will do to each other on their new journey through life together.

3. Stealing the bride’s shoe

The tradition of stealing the bride’s shoes is especially popular at Russian weddings.

This tradition is pretty funny because the “stealer” has to sneak under the table unnoticed and take the shoe. The groom, to get it back to the bride, must drink vodka from this shoe. The modern interpretation of this custom has, indeed, become more loyal to the newlywed. It offers to put a glass in the shoe (for obvious reasons).

4. Yelling “gorko”

Gorko! – that’s what yell revelers during Russian weddings. Guests pretend as if the wine or treat has become “bitter” until the newlyweds kiss. According to Russian tradition, as soon as the guests begin shouting “Gorko!” The bride and groom are required to kiss. The guests, meanwhile, keep score of the duration of it. And, by the results, conclude how many years the spouses will live in love or how many happy moments they will experience. After the kiss, some weddings additionally shout “sweet!”, confirming that the custom is fulfilled.

5. Veil removal

This Russian wedding custom is very old and, actually, a bit sad. Not least because of that it is usually performed at the very end of the wedding ceremony. The meaning of it is a bit melancholy.

The bride and the groom sit down on chairs in the middle of the hall, facing each other. The groom holds his bride’s hands. The wedding guests form a circle around the newlyweds. The groom’s mother takes the bride’s veil and hands it over to the bride. In this way, she gives a sign that a girl became a woman today. Then the mother-in-law ties a scarf around the bride’s head and an apron around her waist – as a symbol of the woman’s destiny.

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