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    Show me photos, videos, songs, customs of Weddings in your country. Both religious and folk weddings. Historical and Modern.

    Belarusian Folk Wedding

    Ukrainian Church Service – Orthodox

    According to Christian practice, marriage takes place only when both husband and wife are willing to commit themselves to each other for eternity. Husband and wife both vow respect and eternal love. Such love is to be considered unconditional and only such love can be the foundation for the church wedding ceremony.

    Orthodox recognizes marriage as a sacrament – and the ceremony of a wedding is basically the act of obtaining God’s blessing and special gift of love, which will combine two hearts forever.

    Two people forever become one in soul and body during this ceremony.

    The sacrament of marriage consists of two parts – “betrothal” and “wedding”. A long time ago these two rituals where separated with time. “Betrothal” followed engagement and could be terminated before the “wedding”.

    During the “betrothal”, the priest gives the couple two burning candles, as a symbol of joy and warmth. He then puts the rings on – first the groom, and then on the bride.

    After the “betrothal”, the couple then goes to the center of the church. The priest asks them if they are free and if they have been faithful to their commitment to each other. The producers of Hollywood movies at this moment like to add a third person to the stage – some kind of forgotten spouse or someone’s miserable lover. But these kind of things are only for melodramas, such events rarely happen.

    As with any other ritual, the ritual of “marriage” is very symbolic. During this process, the bridesmaids and groom’s best friends hold crowns above the heads of the groom and bride. We understand that this may sound very new to you, as you probably have never heard of such experience before. To help you better understand what “crowns” are and why they are placed above the couple’s heads, we post some pictures here to assist.

    The “crowns” are very sacred objects. And people who hold them in their hands, should use a handkerchief, and never touch the crown with bare hands – this is forbidden by the church.

    If you translate Ukrainian “church marriage ceremony” literally – you will have “Crowning” (yes, sounds like crowning of kings and queens, but don’t forget – this is Ukraine with its ancient history and breathtaking rituals).

    The Crowns, which are held above the head of the prospective couple, symbolize the Crown of Kingdom of Heaven. The chalice of wine, from which the priest provides communion to the couple, is a symbol of life chalice representing joy and sorrow in which the couple would share until the end of their days.

    According to traditions, the prospective couple shouldn’t eat anything before the ceremony, and the wine from the chalice will be their first drink from the start of the day. So right away after their first sip, they will feel real warmth and happiness, as they are likely to experience a most comforting sensation.

    Also, there is a moment when the priest binds the hands of bride and groom with an embroidered towel. While holding their hands, he asks the couple to follow him three times around the altar. This circular path created around the altar, symbolizes that the sacrament of “marriage” will be eternal.

    The marriage ceremony is one of seven sacraments. It is understood that such a sacred act is not fully shared with others. Other people cannot witness what the soul of the bride or groom is going through during their ritual. Before the sacrament of marriage, the couple should confess in front of God and take Holy Communion. Accordingly, the day before the wedding the couple should obstain from any alcoholic drinks or smoking. In some cases, the priest may also instruct the couple not to eat meat dishes (to lent).

    It is important to understand that the “marriage” sacrament must be performed in church on certain days.



    Here is more about Belarusian folk customs. Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle: (English, Russian, Belarusian languages supported)  http://en.etna.by/



    Here first comes a mass in a church. Some talking of a priest and other typical liturgical stuff. In case of my sister’s wedding there was a baptism of my nephew at the same time. Later a party in the fire station (it’s rather typical in the villages), some gifts, some “woooow how awesome, great, whatever”. First dance, I haven’t danced at all. Other typical stuff is terrible music – some old-school disco polo (genre of music from Poland) and some a’la disco polo in a wedding style. Thankfully at first it was normal music, and this terrible music started after I consumed enough vodka. At some point I thankfully got drunk enough to be escorted to my bed so wasn’t really tortured. Ah, there is also a tradition of “oczepiny” which is basically getting drunk again next day. More or less. But it wasn’t present on my sister’s wedding.
    There’s a normal music too of course, but it depends. Maybe later I’ll search for some additional info (gladly I am not experienced in weddings), but now I must prepare myself to chop the wood.



    I am not experienced in weddings

    You gotta train. :D



    The text below is my amateur translation of this article’s fragment:

    There are some proper nouns to which I’ll give a Polish name and maybe a possible translation/explanation of meaning.


    Typically Slavic ceremony of creating a
    solid relationship was “swaćba”. Among Slavs the marriage
    was a freewill agreement, that formed the bond of friendship between
    families of both spouses. There were two kinds of gifts: “posag”
    (dowry) and “wiano”(bridewealth). The rite of swaćba was
    based on making an oath by both spouses in the presence of the gods –
    or more physically in the presence of “żerca” (Slavic
    priest) or “swat” (matchmaker), often alsoin presence of
    other members of the society. This oath was most often made within a
    sacred grove – a place which for our ancestors served same purpose as
    temples nowadays.

    The process of matchmaking was strongly
    settled for long time in Polish folklore. “Swat” was a
    person responsible for this process and on some occassions was
    accepting an oath from the spouses on their ceremony. In case of lack
    of agreement before two families, the spouses were often faking a
    kidnapping (“umuczka”), and in secret were getting married.
    Real kidnappings in Slavic communities were relatively rare. In
    Slavic folklore we still have a custom of “oczepiny”, which
    originally was about switching maiden’s wreath to a caul. It’s good
    to have also in mind “korowaj” – traditional kalach
    (circular wedding bread), baked on yeast and filled with dried
    fruits. It was produced married women from spouses’ families, while
    its decoration was a job for unmarried women. Its cultural equivalent
    is a wedding cake.

    Typically Pagan custom related with
    wedding which is still in use, is carrying the bride through the
    doorstep. As Slavs believed that their houses are also inhabited by
    the spirits of their ancestors, they wanted to avoid a situation when
    a spirit gets mad because someone unrelated moved in – so that was
    supposed to give a hint that it’s a wife now. Other rites was binding
    spouses’ hands together and eating meals together – it was
    symbolising that the couple will be together and their relationship
    is unbreakable. Slavic weddings were loud and could last for a few
    days, this custom for a long time was present in folklore. The
    function of Slavic musicians who worked on weddings were “igrcy”
    (or “igrzec” in singular) – they played on reeds made of
    wood or bones, drums, horns. They, in general, were supposed to
    entertain the people who gathered.

    The photo is a reconstruction of Slavic
    wedding, made by Native Polish Church, in 2002.

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