Belarus’ traditional wedding? Shot of vodka, swaddled log and broken bench! (photos)

The members of The Student Ethnographic Society and musician Syarhei Douhushau helped Adarka and Yauhen hold a traditional Belarusian wedding during Kamyanitsa festival in the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Strochytsy near Minsk.

The participants wanted to support the museum and show Belarusians and foreign visitors how important wedding ceremonies are for newlyweds’ developing mutual understanding and promoting their relations with other family members and the entire community.

They also stood an opportunity to have fun, sing and dance.

At the wedding the young couple was taken to the old inn in the road cart, the horse was decorated with flowers and bells. The co-parents-in-law welcomed the newlyweds in according with tradition – they had a cottage loaf and small shots of vodka, then let them walk over the animal’s skin – a popular belief says that after such ritual their family life will be prosperous. The wedding banquet was held not in the house, but in the yard, as it was once done in the village.

The closest relatives of the bride and the groom got traditional symbolic gifts, i.e. belts and blankets. There was a time when a bride was expected to weave such presents herself before the wedding.

At first, Yauhen and Adarka were at the head of the table, under the icon of St. Nicholas. Then they had to sit on the money collected from guests – just to be rich and wealthy in the future.

In turn, the bride was presented with a swaddled log and asked to lull it so that many children would come up to them.

The final rite was the most serious part of the wedding – the mother-in-law took the wreath and veil off Adarka’s head and covered her hair with a kerchief, which symbolizes gaining the status of a wife.

The feast ended in breaking the bench on which the newlyweds were sitting. Ancient Belarusians believed that the rite would protect the marriage and prevent the groom from celebrating another wedding in his house.

All photos:

Vyachaslau Radzimich,, photos by Vyachaslau Radzimich.

Tags: traditions