We are accustomed to think of a Russian folk wedding as many days unbridled joy: guests famously drink, good snack, dancing till you drop, sing themselves hoarse, and then fight with gusto. But in reality, these festivities — only the second part of the popular wedding ritual, once known as the "red table". The first part — "black table" — is almost completely forgotten. In ancient times, according to the rules of the "black table", the bride had to go to the rite of matrimony does not light in festive dress, as it is often in the movies, and in mourning garb, as if for a funeral. Yes it was her funeral and burial, and in the eyes of accompanying betrothed was none other than the living dead. Rudiments of these ideas can be found in the Russian countryside in the early XX century. And now their shadows sometimes appear the wedding of carefree fun.
Agreement with late
Representation of the bride as liminal (from the Latin limen, liminis — threshold gates) creatures, between the living and the world of the dead, have their roots in the era of pre-class societies, and are found in many nations. We are talking about rudiments of so-called rites of passage (initiation) by which a person changes his existential status: birth — age — marriage and death (the number of stages in different nations vary). All these rites in common: they were needed for a successful contact with the world of the dead. Thus, the baby born in the archaic era was perceived as being, which comes from the spirit world, and needed a rite that would blow his connection with the dead kingdom. Otherwise, the dead could cause significant damage through it alive. During the funeral, however, it was important that all went to the dead ancestors and relatives tortured his terrible visits.
But the birth and death — is the situation at the life-cycle, requiring a clear separation of the two worlds. With the transformation of adolescents into adult members of the tribe (the legal age at marriage for boys and girls) — the situation was more complicated. The fact that the idea of spirits in early societies always ambivalent: the dead can be both kind and evil to the living. Therefore, not only afraid of the dead, but also revered as a source of all kinds of knowledge: the predictions, advice and experience. In particular, it was thought that the knowledge required for a person to be an adult, can only give the dead ancestors. And to obtain this knowledge, it is necessary to leave the realm of the dead, then there is a time to die.
Journey to the afterlife was not allegory in modern primitive people still believed that the man in the time of initiation, leaves this world for real. The situation was quite difficult: first it was necessary to successfully die to your ancestors made their own, and then return safely into the world, without losing the human nature, and not becoming a werewolf. That is what had to ensure wards and special rituals.
In reality, initiated left in designated locations, where it is believed, was possible contact with another reality. There he spent some time a few days to three months, while the priests and shamans made over it appropriate ceremonies and transfer knowledge, accessible only to adult members of the tribe. Sense of the reality of contact with the other world, I think, was complete: the participants of the ritual taking hallucinogens, go into a trance and were forgotten in the sacred dances. All this time initiated considered living dead and the real source of danger to their living fellows. It is in this position the bride and after the engagement and to defloration in wedding night (with the adoption of Christianity — usually before the wedding).
Of course, the Slavs, like other European nations, the original meaning of events was abandoned hundreds of years ago. No one is going to the dead, but a vague sense of what the bride is something wrong, you could catch a peasant rituals, who remembers our great grandparents.
The living dead
Traditionally the bride's engagement after the home immediately mourning: in some areas, white shirts and sundresses (white — the color of snow and the death of the Slavs), in others — black (the influence of the Christian understanding of grief.) In the Arkhangelsk region in general covered the bride's head dolls, which are usually buried. After that comes the time for the girls to perform the ritual of mourning their fate. We have become accustomed over the centuries to believe that because the bride said goodbye to the parental home. But in fact, the text of the farewell song says, it is about death, "for the three forests, three mountains and three rivers", that is the abode of the undead. At least, that decodes the formula Vladimir Propp (1895-1970) in his famous book "The Historical Roots of a fairy tale." The bride wept like a dead man: the Novgorod region, for example, is still sung about the shroud, which she wants to get a gift. Often the girl to cry turned to a cuckoo to transmit news to parents. This is not a coincidence: the cuckoo bird was considered, easily fly between the two worlds.
In many countries, the brides were forbidden to talk, laugh, go out, or even sit down at the common table. They are dead,
they can not do anything other than the dowry, and then only because they were believed, women's souls in the afterlife is allowed to spin and sew. The word "bride" means "unknown" (from "not to know"), that is impersonal, like all dead.
Some customs keep the memory of the fear that once had to their parents 'dead' daughters. It was he who was the basis of the tradition of bride locked in a closet. In the XIX century, this custom still practiced, certainly symbolically, in the villages of Ryazan and Pskov provinces. For brides also sewed special shirts with sleeves below the hands, so they do not touch the people and things — a touch of dead could be disastrous. Finally, the traditional veil, transformed later in the veil, was originally a means to hide the bride's look, which was once perceived as good as witches.
In Ryazan, brides are still called "Mermaid". Now it is a metaphor, but before that — is not: in the Russian hostage demonology mermaids were dead, that is, those who died before his term metered slain not at war, drowned or died by his own hand. They turned into the living dead, wandering between two worlds and bringing evil living while not survive their time and they do leave to the dead forever. These were also the bride.
In this context, it becomes clear to the original meaning of the custom to arrange for the bride before the wedding bath. This is nothing like washing before burial. In Karelian villages bride then put even as the dead man, in the corner under the icons. Over our long history, this custom has been repeatedly reinterpreted. In most cases, it was seen as a ritual marriage with the spirit of water — to have more children. In XV century bath was used also for the last girl parties (bachelor, by the way, was not there.)
Alex KORZUKHIN (1835-1894). "Hen" (1889).
Bath has always been considered the most "unclean" place in the country or in the yard, who need to communicate with demons — welcome here. Connection to the world of dead here is quite obvious
Married a bear
Groom to the wedding had already been initiated and adopted by the adult members of the tribe, or he had no right to start a family. An echo of this special folk custom sound newlywed names preserved in some areas of Central Russia. Thus, in the province of Smolensk in the XIX century, the groom is still called the "wolf", and in Vladimir — "bear." Likening animal was neglected evidence that the groom was the rite of entry into the male union, in which the young men had to be "transformed" into a totemic ancestor. The wolf and the bear were considered mythological ancestors of most of the East Slavic tribes.
So, the groom belonged to the world of the living. Accordingly, his job was to go to the world of the dead, to find there his bride and bring her back to life, making the woman. Needless farewell groom with parents and relatives before leaving for the bride speech plays a man lying on his death bed.
Arriving to the bride, the young man discovers that her friends do not let him in the house.
In Nizhny Novgorod region "guards" directly zavlyali that the house is dead. The only way to get there — to pay the ransom for gates, doors, stairs, etc.? Etc. In archaic representations is a typical situation for a living, got to the underworld. Initially, it was necessary to correctly name all the inputs and outputs, so they opened. Something similar is described in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Later transformed into a ritual of naming the demand ransom.
Friends who do not want to let the bride appear here as her ghostly companions. Dressed alike, they demanded that the groom to one of them guessed his betrothed, in other words, took her lifeless impersonal. Guess I had to three times. If all attempts were unsuccessful, it was considered a bad omen — the marriage will not be strong.
But the groom to the bride was also not alone with him was best man (the main manager of the married relatives of the groom) and tysyatsky (cross groom).
They are the ones who Propp calls "magical helpers" such as Humpbacked Horse. Without them live in the world of the dead is very vulnerable, because the risk to meet a far more insidious residents of the other world than bridesmaids. Hence a lot of wedding charms — more than four. Tysyatsky been a holder wedding treasury and buy all that is necessary for the ceremony. A boyfriend wielded a whip, lashing them crosswise, and repel evil spirits. He could help the search for a bride to the groom. Over his shoulder, he had tied a special towel — embroidered red towel.
It was a symbol of the way in a different world: the towel lowered the coffin into the grave, and sometimes even put on the deceased.
After the blessing, the bride's parents wedding train. The bride was traveling with his matchmaker, and in some cases, fell on her knees, pretending dead. In her hands was a broom — amulet against evil forces that she had not kept her from returning to the world of the living.
In Kostroma and Rostov provinces wedding procession on the way stopped by the cemetery, so that the spirits of ancestors were not offended that they take once they owned.
But that all precautions are met, the bride bought out, perfect lighting ceremony matrimony and brought her to the house of the groom.
Here, all members of the wedding CROP well water, and the carts were passing through the decayed fire: supposed to clear after talking to the world dead. The same ritual, by the way, respected at home and at the funeral. In the house of her husband's bride wore a white shirt with colorful embroidery and festive skirts (skirt) red. Maiden scythe unwinds while the head was worn Kichko — headdress of married women.
After young escorted to the bedroom. In the morning before the guests appeared rejuvenated man, and in ancient times it was understood literally: the one that became the wife, I was not only the surname (family name), but also a personal name. This metamorphosis is "officially" was fixed the next day after the ritual the bride groom's family search the home of her parents was a man — and no. For the same purpose, and conducted searches of the deceased. So posed ritual point.
Over the twentieth century, the content and the order of wedding ceremony forgotten completely. From some of the sacred act of awakening the feminine wedding turned into a big party on the occasion of receiving the two young men of the stamp in the passport. Snow-white bridal dress has nothing to do with mourning. Groom from cautiously creeping through the world of dead stranger became an absolute master of the situation. He buys himself a bride and her friends solved riddles included in vogue in the 1950s.
Witnesses who came to replace the friend, only need to put my name in the registry office. For them all makes toastmaster or restaurant manager. Their previous roles like a ribbon over his shoulder, which was transformed funeral towel. Ritual broom has long become a bride's bouquet. Veil is not necessary, the bride look now nobody scares. From the previous custom was only ban newlyweds look each other in the eye during an exchange rings, and they will be changed. Crying bride now also no need. Except that you can cry in the morning before the arrival of the groom. Instead cemetery newlyweds now I stop at the eternal flame, or monuments. Preserved offering loaf, grain shedding and coins — is clear: family harmony and prosperity wants at all times. For the same reason many stayed and amulets. A vague reminder of the resurrection of the bride is the ritual at the end of her stolen wedding party, but there was obvious confusion with the Caucasian tradition. And look for her now are not relatives, and a young man — so logical from the point of view of common sense, because the truth of the tradition, no one remembers.