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Slavic wedding: description, traditions, customs, dresses of the bride and groom, decoration of the hall and table


Sophia

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Recently, young people began to show a genuine interest in the old traditions of Slavic weddings. Original and largely unique customs of their ancestors often quite organically woven into the modern wedding.

Wedding - an event incredibly important in the life of every person, requiring careful preparation and marks a new stage in the life and relationships of lovers. Ancestors with due respect and awe treated this event and therefore does not cause any surprise attraction of traditions of the Slavic wedding for the betrothed nowadays.

Traditions, customs, and rites

The ancient Slavs considered the creation of a family one of the most important stages of their lives, hoping at the same time for the mercy of fate and favor from above. The word "wedding" consisted of three parts, fully expressing the attitude of ancestors to this event: "SVA" meant the sky, "d" — the earthly act, and "BA" — blessed by the gods. This transcript could be formulated as "an earthly act blessed by the gods in heaven." The statement determined the character of all the rites of the ancient Slavic wedding.

The Union of two people has always been traditionally associated with procreation, and the birth of children was strongly encouraged. The ancient Slavs in this regard gradually formed several restrictions and prohibitions for candidates for potential bride and groom. The age limit for newlyweds was very reasonable: a young man must be over 21 years old, and the girl must be 16 years old. For known reasons, the family of the groom and the bride's family should not have crossed too close.

There is a popular misconception that young often combined in marriage against their will. In fact, the traditions of the Slavic wedding suggested the presence of a special, harmonious relationship between the newlyweds. It was thought that life itself and the gods had sent them to the arms of each other.

If we talk about the old Slavic traditions and customs, to date, they have repeatedly undergone changes due to permanent resettlement and warfare. The birth of Christianity in Russia marked a change in wedding ceremonies, the wedding was held in the Church, and the blessing of the young gods on the temple was forgotten as one of the many pagan traditions.

Slavic wedding

Style and symbolism

The style of Slavic wedding was based on the idea of unity with nature and respect for traditions. Clothes and surroundings do not involve the excesses and extravagances of modern weddings, not exuded excessive pathos and formulaic style. The atmosphere, as a rule, is maintained in the old Russian key. Decoration of the festival place with as many natural elements as possible and the absence of synthetic and plastic parts are welcome. Usually, the color palette of costumes, decorations, and backgrounds is based on white and red colors, but blue shades are also acceptable.

Ancient amulet called Bridal, denoting the creative and destructive beginning of the sun and therefore has a double force, can rightly be called the main symbol of the Slavic wedding. This talisman personified in a General sense the Union of the two clans protected the future family from the evil eye and all the troubles, and also brought prosperity, mutual understanding, and happiness to the house of the married. Give svadebnik traditionally the parents of the young at the conclusion of all ceremonies.

Slavic wedding

The ancient Slavs believed that this talisman had magical properties that helped create the family climate, helped the early appearance of healthy offspring and protect spouses from the squabbles and quarrels. One of the rites of the Slavic wedding prescribed after the birth of the first child to hide the wedding with a veil, dress and other attributes of the celebration in the chest. However, some couples still left the symbol in the most prominent place in the house.

Nowadays it has become popular to apply the image of this talisman in the form of the same tattoo to both spouses. It is worth noting that according to the old Slavic traditions such amulet is not considered real and does not have magical properties. According to the ancient customs, svadebnik produced by natural embroidery thread on the white piece of cloth. Then the mascot could hang on the wall like a picture. Preference was given to fabrics of linen origin. Some have opted for a wooden talisman made of beech, oak, ash or birch.

Wedding scenarios

The essence of any scenario of the wedding in the old Slavic style is the naturalness of the theme. From a variety of well-established wedding, templates should be immediately abandoned. The atmosphere of celebration, bright colors and unbridled fun — the Foundation for writing the script for the Slavic wedding. Already at this stage, it is time to decide who will get the lead role. Professional toastmaster is likely to cope with this task better, but it is necessary to warn in advance about the style of the celebration and discuss all the details.

Slavic wedding

Photo: boho-weddings.com

According to Slavic customs, the wedding is made up of a wedding train, which necessarily presents the bride and groom, parents on both sides, friends of the groom and bridesmaids, as well as professional musicians. The young man, accompanied by his retinue, goes first to his beloved, and then with her goes to the place of the wedding ceremony. At this time, guests are already waiting for the start of the celebration. Contrary to the established European traditions, the bride should not lead to the altar of her father, and the groom himself. Then begins the official part of the event, during which the couple swears to each other in love, exchange wedding rings, sign the consent to the marriage and kiss to the applause of the guests.

In the scenario of the Slavic wedding will fit well the old folk entertainment and colorful competitions of those times. The audience will appreciate the tug of war, brook, tag, and competition in the towns. The degree of fun will increase the ancient Russian fun jumping over the fire. Of course, with full compliance with all security measures. Heroes of Slavic folklore and folk tales will only decorate the holiday. Charming mermaids, frightening goblins and mysterious brownies perfectly fit into the atmosphere of this Slavic wedding.

For the delight of hearing guests can invite musical groups performing songs under Russian folk instruments like gusli, domra, wheel lyre or the well-known balalaika. Strings it is recommended to Supplement wind instruments: the pastoral pipe, zhaleika, kaluli, a pipe or horn. Keep the rhythm of cheerful Slavic dances and dances should be assigned to a group of drums, consisting of tambourines and bells, rattles and rattles. The size and composition of the Slavic orchestra will depend only on financial possibilities. Under the provocative music, guests will appreciate the flashy fisticuffs. Undoubtedly, it is best to use the services of professional artists for such fights.

Wedding table decoration

Banquet in the organization of the celebration in the old Russian traditions plays a special role. Making a table at a Slavic wedding should be done as diverse and rich. The inhabitants of Ancient Russia gathered for such events whole villages, and therefore the tables almost sagged under a huge number of treats for every taste. Dishes invariably included various pastries, meat and fish dishes, and at the head of the table, there was always a loaf, which was entrusted to bake married women from the bride's family. Of course, the organization of the Slavic wedding now allows the order loaf in the bakery. The most interesting thing is that a large loaf can fully replace the wedding cake and once again emphasize the Slavic flavor of the event.

Slavic wedding

It is also necessary to determine the list of dishes to the table, which will be both delicious and relevant to the overall style of the celebration with a Slavic bias. Banquet menu, in this case, may consist of an impressive selection of treats:

  • pies, pancakes, and fritters,
  • baked fish and salted herring,
  • game and skewered meat (rabbit, pork or beef),
  • pickled mushrooms and various pickles,
  • caviar and sauerkraut,
  • suckling pig as an exquisite delicacy.

The list of drinks includes compotes, fruit drinks, jelly, and compote. The latter are decoctions of boiled water with fruit and berry and wine additives to taste. In principle, traditional wedding drinks like champagne and any strong alcohol is quite acceptable to leave on the menu. If you pour strong alcohol in stylized Slavic life jugs and decanters, it will only benefit the atmosphere of the holiday.

Wedding gifts

The ancient Slavs strictly followed the established procedures and always knew who and how much had to be presented as a gift, so that all those present were satisfied. Give then all could, that could come in handy in everyday life and represented the viability and prosperity. In the course were poultry and animals: young gave geese, ducks, chickens, pigs, cows, bulls and calves. It was not forbidden to provide even food as a gift. From what to give for a wedding in the Slavic style now, we can mention towels without fringe, which were a symbol of unity and love of the married. By the way, the ancient Slavic customs prescribed to make gifts of something in large quantities and always a multiple of ten. For example, a hundred boxes of chicken eggs or ten geese.

Slavic wedding

The oldest relative in the groom's family traditionally gave him a whip. The groom was supposed to place this whip on a prominent part of the wall in the house. The symbolism was, in this case, a demonstration of the husband's power over his wife. Other relatives were also supposed to present certain gifts according to the traditions and customs of the Slavic wedding. For example, future mother-in-law usually gave her daughter-in-law some valuable family heirloom. This gift mother-in-law bequeathed to keep the family tradition in the house of the future couple. As a relic was a ring or any other decoration.

Of course, many will consider for a modern wedding gift like geese and whips slightly strange. However, in old Slavonic times, young people were often given fine furs and textiles, as well as beautiful jewelry as a gift. These gifts are unlikely to ever go out of fashion. Also, always relevant as a present will remain ordinary household items. It will not be difficult to find a useful gift from the kitchen and household appliances, sets and tableware, sports equipment and entertainment devices.

An interesting tradition was the so-called "gifts". In the first six months of family life, the husband and wife evaluated the gifts of guests at the wedding. After that, they necessarily paid a personal visit to each guest and presented him with reciprocal gifts that cost more than the wedding gifts given to them earlier. The meaning of this custom was that the family showed the value of the gifts received and how these gifts increased their family well-being.

Folk songs for wedding

No wedding Banquet can not do without singing positive songs, and at the Slavic wedding even more so. At the same time, guests of the celebration and the newlyweds themselves can sing, as well as professional musicians performing songs to the accompaniment of old Slavonic instruments. The repertoire should be selected in the preparation of the wedding scenario or independently, or listen to the ideas of musicians who are planned to be hired.

In Ancient Russia paid special attention to ritual chants. Slavic folklore singled out wedding songs as one of the four main genres. At the celebration, they served as a visual and expressive means with a number of literary techniques: personification, the presence of constant epithets, comparisons and diminutive suffixes to refer to the bride, groom and all members of the young family.

In fact, the ritual songs of the Slavs were a unique combination of folk eloquence, Slavic mythology, elements of oral poetry and an encyclopedia of the life of ordinary peasant people of those times. Many songs use the method of idealization of the image and characters of the bride and groom, have an extraordinary brightness in the image of the plots. At the head are also the motives of wealth, happiness and well-being of the young. The groom is often compared to a Drake or a Falcon, and the bride - to a duck or a cuckoo. Interestingly, the image of the cuckoo symbolizes the funeral. The ancient Slavs associate this with the rite of initiation, according to which the future bride had to "bury" her past life and start a new, joint life with her husband from scratch. The symbol of the cuckoo is mentioned in the songs at the bachelorette party and during the departure of the girl to the crown for the wedding ceremony.

Slavic wedding

The repertoire of Slavic songs for the wedding offers dozens of works that will perfectly fit into the atmosphere of the holiday even today. A list of the most popular of them can be found below. Spelling and style of writing are preserved. For the most part, the titles are the first line of the lyrics, on which the relevant information resources can easily find the full text.

Lyrical songs for the wedding in the Slavic style, performed directly at the Banquet, are as follows:

  • "Bowed birch forest dark...".
  • "At sea, Utica no kubalasa...".
  • "That you are a birch beam, do not burn brightly...".

Ritual and ritual songs for the wedding in the Slavic style:

  • "Like a matchmaker in the yard..." - the song announced the beginning of the ceremony to congratulate the groom and sounded exactly at the moment when the bride's parents gave their consent to the wedding.
  • "Plant Milenka like our girls..." - tells of a ceremony in the bride's home.
  • "All the boyars moved into the yard..." - it was sung either at the bachelorette party or by the arrival of the groom. Allowed performance and at the wedding.
  • "And sailed Utica..." - to sing the song relied on a bachelorette party when the bride unbraids his hair.
  • "Cuckoo cuckoo in the garden..." - this song is sung at the celebration, symbolizes the symbol of the wedding process with the help of visual means of allegorical speech.
  • "At the gate birch stood..." - is a calendar ritual song. Involves the joining of the bride in the new role of a mother and continuers of a sort man.

Slavic wedding

Choice of the wedding dress: dresses for the groom and guests

Without the characteristic costumes is simply impossible to fully convey the whole flavor of the celebration. In addition, made at the Slavic wedding photos of guests in the appropriate style of the event outfits will be a great memory for the newlyweds. Even more responsible to approach to the selection of wedding dresses for the bride and attire for the groom.

Usually, the bride's attire suggests the presence of a white sundress with red ethnic patterns in the traditional style. As a little less authentic option suitable white and red dress, which is sure to be found in any wedding salon. If the combination of red and white is not satisfied, you can try a combination of white and blue shades. Many organizers insist that the design of the Slavic wedding was designed in the same colors as the bride's dress.

From shoes is to look at the red shoes or fabric boots in the old Slavic style of the same color. For a winter wedding, the bride is well suited patterned white boots in combination with a fur coat, Muff and winter hat. In spring and autumn, it is permissible to cover the top with a colored shawl or scarf.

Slavic wedding

One of the most suitable hairstyles for Slavic style experts believes loose curls and slightly careless styling. The custom in Ancient Russia ordered the girls to wear one braid before marriage, and after the braid unraveled, and then it was supposed to braid two braids. It is necessary to clarify that the veil at the wedding in the Slavic style is missing, instead, put on a kokoshnik or wreath. Modern girls prefer to leave their heads uncovered and decorate their hair with a barrette. If the wreath is still there, then after the official paintings at the wedding, the bride should give it to her mother.

If the newlyweds have decided on a suitable dress for a Slavic wedding of the bride, it remains to choose the best authentic stylish suit to the groom. You can choose from two main styles of color dress: red and black colors with Golden patterns or a completely white outfit with an ornament of ethnic patterns. On his feet, the groom usually wears cloth boots. Mandatory elements regardless of the color palette are bloomers and a long shirt, tied up with a sash.

It is necessary to accurately comply with the patterns on the suit of the groom and the bride's dress. Ornaments on Slavic ceremonial weddings usually denoted one of the ancient gods and were something like an offering for the protection and blessing of the Union by higher powers.

The requirements for the color scheme for the dresses of the guests were not as strict as the heroes of the occasion. Costumes of all-natural colors, including green, blue or orange, were allowed. Girls are free to choose dresses of any length with the observance of authenticity and the General stylistics of the Slavic entourage. Men's suits mainly need to be made of trousers and long shirts with sashes.

The choice of venue, design, and decoration of the hall

Many newlyweds try to hold a wedding celebration in one of the summer months. However, the organization of the Slavic weddings allowed in the warm season and in winter. Holding the event during winter will only add to the entourage since the effect of most of the old Russian fairy tales unfolded in the icy time.

When choosing a place, you can give preference to this Russian hut with a chimney, wooden shutters on the Windows and a well behind the threshold. A key role in the styling will play a wooden interior and exterior. The special charm of the celebration will give finding houses in a dense coniferous or birch forest in the autumn when everything around is covered with yellowed foliage.

As for the summer wedding in the style of Ancient Russia, everything is much easier here. Such an event can be held directly in nature, for example, go to the wheat field. A nice and cozy place in the open air is allowed to conduct registration, photoshoot and the celebration with a Banquet. A less radical option is to rent a summer terrace in a restaurant with a suitable style of design. The interior is welcome the presence of this Russian stove, fireplace, towels, wicker fences and wooden furniture.

The color palette can be composed of red, Burgundy, dark pink, blue and orange shades. The basis of the design of the hall for the Slavic wedding must also be white. Summer is more conducive to warm calm tones like pink, and in winter it will look the best red in combination with snow-white snowdrifts. In turn, it was the red color that occupied a special place in the old Slavic style. In addition, the above mentioned that the best option would be a combination of the color design of the hall with the colors of the wedding dress of the bride.

It is recommended to select the common decor items for decorating the hall for a wedding in the Slavic style, which is listed below:

  • Textiles like curtains made of calico, knitted rugs, towels, and patchwork tablecloths.
  • Musical instruments according to the type of balalaika, gusli, rattles, harmonicas, tambourines, accordions and harmonicas.
  • Gifts of nature like cones, bunches of Rowan and fir branches.
  • Buckets and yoke.
  • Sleds and carts.
  • Dummy Russian oven.
  • Samovars and onions.
  • Small and large nesting dolls.

Slavic wedding

Ideas for a photoshoot in Slavic style

First of all, you need to make sure that the props for the decoration of the celebration itself are maximally involved in the photoshoot, which should initially be said to the hired photographer. The bride and groom can pose against the background of a wheat field or the River Bank. Beautiful thematic backgrounds for photos at the Slavic wedding will serve as old huts in the Russian style, haystacks, and horse corrals.

For winter photography, there are also many different subjects, for example, young people sit down at the table, the bride pours tea from a samovar into cups. Winter sleigh will also be a great prop for photography. Some go even further and shoot voluminous wedding performances in the style of Russian fairy tales like "frost".

Slavic wedding

Other features of the preparation for the wedding

Taking into account all the traditions and rituals of Slavic weddings is an extremely difficult task. If the main points are more or less clear, it remains only to clarify some details. No wonder they say that the devil is in the details.

Small themed gifts for guests will be a good gesture from the young. As such nice stuff can be sweet cocks on sticks, beautiful amulets and dolls and a stylized Slavic style painted plates and saucers. Towels and bath brooms are also suitable for the role of symbolic gifts.

The organization of banquets with an impressive number of guests does not always go smoothly. One of the useful little things can be called special cards with the names of people invited to the wedding. These cards are made of plain cardboard and placed in places that are designed for specific guests at the Banquet. For the authenticity of the allowed cards in small barrels made of wood or tree stumps. Dried grass is scattered around the card.

Certainly worth mentioning about wedding invitations, which also should not stand out from the General old Slavic style. The front side of the invitations is usually decorated with the image of two roosters, a loaf and photos of lovers in themed outfits. In the hands of the couple holding wooden wine glasses. Red and white embroidery can decorate the edges of invitations. Some prefer to change the form of standard invitations and perform them in the form of nesting dolls or rooster with proper color design.

In conclusion, it should be added that the traditions and rituals of the Slavic wedding are truly fascinating and original. This style is perfect for the most important event in the life of young people. A qualitative approach to the organization of the celebration will allow the newlyweds and guests to plunge into the real atmosphere of the old Slavic holidays and visit the fairy tale.

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      Over the past two decades, the world has seen major epidemics from EBOLA, SARS and MERS.   Singapore learned from experience and upgraded their infectious disease infrastructure,  Their stockpile housed almost three N95 masks per resident at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, although not every country was so well prepared.
      The United States went in the opposite direction and stepped back from its leadership role in pandemic preparedness and response, largely ignoring the advice of its scientific community. CDC funding was cut in 2019 and had a projected decrease for 2020, From 2017-2020,, the CDC’s China staff was slashed from approximately 47 to around 14 individuals, including epidemiologists and other health professionals.
      In the Spring of 2018, the United States’ pandemic response team was disbanded and its activities were largely reassigned to other agencies. Crimson Contagion, a pandemic response scenario, predicted a confused uncoordinated response, which aptly foretold what took place. Our strategic reserves of N95 masks were all but depleted but even at maximum capacity, the stockpile was only designed to provide 2.4% of the projected need for 3.5 billion masks.
      Testing and Surveillance of Community Spread is Key to Stopping An Epidemic
      Early detection of community spread is vital to generate the ‘Data-for-Action’ which is needed to stop the spread of dangerous pathogens.
      During the Ebola epidemic of 2014, the Government of Guinea, changed the case definition by requiring a positive laboratory test to diagnose an infection and document spread. The country had limited testing capability and because of this, the number of reported cases fell. The world thought the epidemic was under control, but instead it spread into surrounding regions and countries, undetected by response agencies throughout the word.
      Similarly, the United States had inadequate testing early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus entered our pacific Northwest. A decision was made not to adopt the World Health Organization test which was developed in Germany, and prohibit independent labs from performing Laboratory-Developed Tests. Instead, the United States was to rely on a test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was found to be defective. This resulted in a limited testing capability and restrictive criteria on when to obtain a test. Asymptomatic spread was not detected, and the virus spread throughout communities in the United States.
      The United States has limited data on community spread for all of the pathogens listed by the CDC as Urgent and Serious Threats.  For the most part, what we know is based upon small studies which generate data from skewed populations admitted or seen within our healthcare system, and there is even limited data regarding MRSA, the most common organism responsible for dangerous co-infection in COVID-19 patients. The CDC does collect data regarding MRSA infections which occur within the first three days of hospitalization; this data is felt to be a surrogate for community infections, but it is not released to the public.
      CDC guidance was also changed to no longer recommend screening for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers.  There was a resultant outcry from public health officials regarding how ill-advised this was; and who quickly retorted that without knowing community spread and identifying asymptomatic carriers, one could not control the pandemic. The CDC quickly revised their guidance again and recommended testing for asymptomatic carriers, but in the United States, the opposite holds true for prevention of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). There is opposition to identification of carriers and the screening of patients on admission to hospitals, and even with isolation and decoloniziation of those who harbor the organisms (for more, click here, here and here).
      The Need for a National Reporting System for Dangerous Pathogens
      A major deficiency in the United States’ infrastructure was the absence of a national reporting system for infectious diseases. In 2012, the requirement for hospitals to keep an infection control log was eliminate, and the excuse given was that hospitals already track infections through other reporting systems.
      However, of the CDC’s five contagions designated as ‘Urgent Threats’ only Clostridioides difficile is mandatorily reported on a national level, and of the ‘Serious Threats’ only Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcal Aureus (MRSA) is mandatorily reported on a national level and only for acute care hospitals.
      One of the key lessons from this pandemic is the need to implement a mandatory National Reporting System for all dangerous pathogens which encompasses all types of healthcare facilities and providers. This has been accomplished for SARS-CoV-2, and the same should be true for all of the CDC’s ‘Urgent’ and ‘Serious Threats’. A national reporting system needs to encompass all types of infections and co-infections. In addition, specific types of infections including catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line associated bloodstream infections and ventilator associated infections need to be reported.
      The system also needs to be real-time and transparent. In response to COVID-19, nursing home interim guidance in the United States requires facilities to, “Inform residents, their representatives, and families of those residing in facilities by 5 p.m. the next calendar day following the occurrence of either a single confirmed infection of COVID-19, or three or more residents or staff with new-onset of respiratory symptoms occurring within 72 hours of each other.”  The same needs to be true for all dangerous pathogens in all types of healthcare facilities.
      What lessons have been learned?
      Many lessons have been learned from COVID-19. We have learned that case definitions can be rapidly created and a reporting system which comprises all types of healthcare facilities can be implemented. The same needs to be done for other dangerous pathogens, including the CDC’s Urgent and Serious Threats, and strategies need to be standardized across all types of facilities. SARS-CoV-2 does not vary its lethality or infectivity based upon the facility type or region of the country.
      South Korea embraced public health strategies early on and to date has lost less than 500 residents in their country. If the United States would have followed this strategy early on, it would have lost approximately 3000 individuals (corrected for population), a far cry from the over 220,000 residents which have died from COVID-19.
      Every citizen needs to care for and protect others. In the prevention of infectious disease, the old mentality needs to be abandoned. This means the adoption of a national strategy which has robust contact tracing and contacts being willing to self-quarantine.
      Of utmost importance in controlling this pandemic, we need a robust infectious disease infrastructure, a national reporting system for all dangerous pathogens to allow for strategic resource production and allocation, along with extensive contact tracing for SARS-CoV-2 and contacts being willing to give up personal freedoms and self-quarantine for the benefit of others.
       
      This post is by Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, and originally appeared on the BMC blog network.
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