Wedding Rituals and Traditions

Turkmen weddingNearly all wedding clothes of Turkmen women besides their direct purpose also fulfilled the role of charms. The bride's outfit consisted of various amulets designed to protect her from evil forces, helped her to stay healthy and wealthy. For example, even the wedding dress itself, which was made of traditional red fabric could arouse envy, attract an "evil eye"; therefore, it was supposed to protect the bride by all possible means. To escape alien eyes the bride wore a cape covering her head along with amulets and charms which were believed to possess guarding forces.

All kinds of wedding clothes had a thread from a camel's wool, a pig's tooth, silver plates, beads with "eyes" fastened to them; the cape was furnished with a sawn-on triangular pouch with coal and salt inside (some nations believe that salt has guarding properties).

It is a popular belief that the bride can not walk on the spot marked by the blood of butchered animal, walk past dirty water and cinder, pass beneath a certain kind of trees during the first days of marriage; she was also not supposed to visit funerals and commemorations.

One of the most interesting and complex elements of the wedding ritual is bashsalma - a ceremonial of changing of the maiden headdress - takhya - for the one of a married woman.

The ritual was solemn, cheerful, noisy symbolical scramble between women and girls for the bride. The bride's f riends stood in a circle around her trying to you defend her; this playful fight was inevitably won by women in the bride had to join their lot. Then a bridle made from weaved color laces («aladzha») are flung over bride's wedding cape. The groom pulls the bridle thrice as if trying to remove the maiden headdress. After that the bride 's head is covered with a big white kerchief presented by a respectable woman having many children and the takhya is passed to the youngest sister of the groom. The idea of this ancient ceremonial use that according old beliefs the grace of the former takhya owner should pass to another girl so she in turn get happily married, give birth to many children - in fact, the main mission of a woman is to be a wife, mother, continuer of family. Takhya was in passed along with the wishes: "Sanada toi etmek nesip etsin!" ( "May thee have a wedding!").