The wedding loaf was the main attribute of the wedding ceremony of our great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers and had no relation to the church sacraments at the wedding. There is an opinion that the earlier form of marriage was a parental blessing with bread and salt. Even in the XIX century, when the church wedding was the only form of creating a family, there were cases of replacing the church ceremony with blessing the newlyweds near the bread bowl, laid with a special embroidered towel – rushnik, on which bread with a pinch of salt was put.
In the XIX-XX centuries, bread and salt began to be replaced by a wedding loaf baking of which became mandatory for both the groom and the bride. The wedding, in fact, began with the baking of a loaf. It had to be baked on either Thursday or Friday. The loaf was decorated with different symbols - the pigeons in the upper part represented the love of the newlyweds, the bumps and spikelets symbolized fertility and wealth.
A bit of the history
According to tradition, earlier the parents of the bride saw off the newlyweds with the wedding loaf in the hands from the home while the parents of the groom met them before the threshold of their home. By taking the daughter in their family, they said "Welcome" and blessed the couple with a long and happy family life. Next, the loaf under the general rejoicing was set at the head of the wedding table and stood there, during the whole feast.
The loaf was divided at the end of the wedding dinner. This honorable duty was performed by a senior friend who gave the central part of the wedding loaf to the newlyweds. Oher pieces were received by parents and relatives. The lower part of the loaf, in which small coins were baked, was handed to musicians. Children and adolescents got the remaining pieces. More often the ceremony of a wedding loaf sharing was combined with the gifting of the newlyweds.
Greeting of newlyweds with a wedding loaf
The ceremony of the greeting of newlyweds with the bread and salt consisted of several parts. In front of the house or restaurant were the groom's parents with a wedding loaf, which was in the hands of the groom's mother. The newlyweds approached their parents and bowed (the couple's bow symbolized close family ties, love, and respect), guests showered the road to the bride and groom with grain, sweets and money with the words: "For luck, for wealth, for prosperity, and for the long family life ... ". Parents took turns to bless the young and tell them their wishes, after that the groom's mother presented a wedding loaf.
Both groom and the bride took the piece from the loaf (it was believed who take a larger piece from the wedding loaf, would be the head of the family), dunked it in salt, and treated each other. After that newlyweds thanked their parents for support and love, took glasses with champagne from a tray, drank it, and, if desired, broke glasses "for luck".
Then all guests were given a piece of the loaf. The bride, like the future hostess, bypassed all guests with a loaf of bread and salt in her hands and the groom gave to each of them a piece of a wedding loaf. It was desirable with the last guest to give the last piece of loaf.
|4Bread and Salt Tradition. Wedding traditions of our ancestors|