Russian wedding traditions: Matchmaking
In Russia, as in other countries, matchmakers used to be sent to bride’s home. On the appointed day a matchmaker or groom’s relatives paid a visit to bride-to-be family place. The conversation started from afar, in allegorical form, and the bride's parents usually took time to respond. The final word was given after the second or the third call of matchmakers. In case of positive decision the bride's parents accepted bread from the matchmakers and cut it. In the event of refusal the bread was returned to the matchmakers intact.
To make the process successful, special rituals were to be observed. For example, it was believed that Wednesdays and Fridays were not good for any wedding-related activities. It was also considered that both matchmaking and weddings were not supposed to take place on the 13th. At the same time, such odd numbers as 3, 5, 7 and 9 were thought to be lucky.
Matchmaking was not supposed to take place before the sunset (to avoid jinxing). It was bad omen for anyone taking part in matchmaking to meet or talk to anybody on the way. After matchmakers left, women tied all pokers and oven forks together - for good luck.
Modern matchmaking in Russia is, of course, devoid of all ceremonial commitments and very simplified. The future bridegroom pays visit to his bride’s parents and asks them for “the hand of their daughter”. If the parents agree, the future bride's father puts his daughter’s right hand into the hand of his future son-in-law the date of engagement is agreed upon afterwards.