Russian Wedding traditions

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Did you know that a traditional Russian Wedding can last between two days and one entire week? And that the groom has to pay a ransom for the bride when he arrives at bride’s home?
These two are only few examples of the most common traditional wedding rituals in Russia!

But let’s go to discover some of the most common customs of the biggest nation in the world!

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The earrings on the Bride-to be:
The earrings on the bride-to be must be placed one by a bride’s friend (who is already married) and the other one by the friend’s husband

The ransom:
There are many versions to realize this very comical and funny tradition.
Normally, the parents of the bride-to-be hide her before the ceremony and challenge the groom with many proofs before revealing how to find her. If a challenge cannot be achieved, he has to pay a compensation also to the bridesmaids, for example cash, flowers or chocolate.
In another version of the ransom, the groom goes at the bride-to be house and he offers money or even jewels to her parents to “have” the bride. The parents bring out a woman or a man dressed up like the bride and covered with a veil. The groom keeps offering more and more until when the ransom is satisfying. Then, the family gives away the bride to her love.

The Traditional Russian Orthodox Ceremony
Marriage in Russia is legally recognized when couples sign papers at the registration office, whose name is Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya.

In this occasion, they can decide to have a short civil ceremony or a longer traditional orthodox ceremony (or both). Some couples decide to sign papers the day before wedding in order to have more time to dedicate to the funny traditions.

The Russian traditional wedding ceremony is divided in two moments: The Betrothal and the Crowning.

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The Traditional Russian Orthodox Ceremony
Marriage in Russia is legally recognized when couples sign papers at the registration office, whose name is Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya. In this occasion, they can decide to have a short civil ceremony or a longer traditional orthodox ceremony (or both). Some couples decide to sign papers the day before wedding in order to have more time to dedicate to the funny traditions.
The Russian traditional wedding ceremony is divided in two moments: The Betrothal and the Crowning.

Betrothal:
In this part of wedding ceremony, the couple receive the blessing of the priest. In the past, the betrothal was also used at the beginning of the engagement, while is common today to make it at the entrance to the church the wedding day. The priest also gives a blessing to the wedding rings, that are placed on the couple’s right hand and he offers them a candle to hold onto thought ceremony, which also includes scripture readings and praying.

Crowning:
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Matrimony is made sacred not during the exchange of rings, but when crowns are placed on bride and groom’s heads. This is the reason for which Crowning is the term used for naming the wedding ceremony itself.
It’s common for the couple to share a cup of wine and also to follow the priest for three times around the lectern (this symbolize their change from individuals to married couple).

Bread and salt:
“Bread is the head of everything”. This Russian proverb describes well the importance of bread in Russia. To make it and offer it is one of the most common welcoming in Russian Wedding traditions.

One day more!
After the celebration, new married couple decides (often accompanied by friends or family members) to make a tour and visit some places to take photos of their special day. Because these trips are often tiring, most Russian wedding last at least two days.

Who pays?
When guests arrive at the reception, often they drop money (real or fake) and the bride has the responsibility to “clean” up the floor to take it.
Sometimes the guest has to pay during the wedding banquet for using (for example) a glass, a plate, some cutlery. The reason is that paying by themselves this stuff, the guests help the couple to save money to invest in their new life together.

Bittersweet toasts
Toasts have an important role during weddings in many countries around the word, and Russia is not an exception.
A common toast is made shouting “Gorko!” which means bitter.
This is the signal for the married couple to kiss. This because the sweetness of their kiss will get better the ‘bitter’ drinks.