Russian Marriage Rites

Weddings, just like birth and death, was seen as a transition in the life of a person. This transition required a lot of internal strength, as well as support from others. Russians thought that during these transitions, a person’s soul was especially exposed to the influence of evil sprits.

Newlyweds were protected with a variety of charms. Embroidery, wearable amulets, gifts with special significance, candles, symbolic foods, and special songs could all be used to protect a new couple. Weddings were celebrated by the entire village, since the noise and celebrations would chase away evil spirits. A towel was thrown under the feet of the couple, so that their journey would be full of abundance. A special pie, called a korovai, was baked, and both the couple and their parents would take bites from it.

After the arrival of Christianity, official marriage rites became an important part of the celebrations. Crowns, candles, and rings were part of this ceremony, and the stubs of the candles would be saved from the marriage rites and be lit again when the couple’s first child was born.