All the nationalities of the world keep valuable ancient traditions in their memory, which are anxiously transmitted to descendants. Wedding ceremonies are unique for each nation, as they all have significant differences. Often mixed marriages between representatives of different cultures, and in this case, those wishing to join the customs of others will have to learn the national characteristics of the wedding. Gypsies are a people without a formal homeland, their communities are scattered around the world, which is why it’s not too difficult for them to become related to any other nationality. To better know their colorful life and customs, it is necessary to familiarize themselves with the traditions of the Gypsy wedding.
Gypsy wedding traditions and customs
Despite the easy and fun nature, Roma has quite strict moral principles. The bride must be innocent, keep chastity before marriage. During a Gypsy wedding, male and female guests are seated at separate tables, avoiding tactile touch.
But the registration record in the registry office does not interest the Gypsies, they rarely connect themselves with official ties. To marry a young man, it is enough approval of the elders of the community or the baron. It is not customary to divorce a gypsy, badly or well, but the husband and his wife spend the whole life together.
Matchmaking at a young age
Representatives of the Gypsy people start a family early, usually by the age of twenty his wife already has several children. And the engagement happens even earlier. Caring fathers, they are the indisputable heads of families; woo their daughters and sons when they are still in swaddling clothes. Grown-up children will not disobey a strict parent, for them, such traditions are in the order of things.
Matchmaking occurs, as in many traditions, on the bride’s territory. Visitors bring a certain set of objects, national symbols to the future relatives’ house. It:
- Beautiful and volumetric wedding cake. Such a loaf should be covered with an expensive handkerchief.
- Symbolic twig, decorated with coins and bright shawls. In Russian-speaking Gypsies, it is called Drevts.
- Wine in a special bottle, inlaid with coins.
The parents of the potential bride, with silent approval, allow guests to place gifts on the family table. This means that the relatives agreed to give their daughter in marriage. After that, the groom’s family meticulously examines the bride. Mandatory ceremony for the Gypsy wedding is a monetary ransom for the girl, which is transferred to her parents. In turn, the relatives of the bride are obliged to prepare for the future wife a good dowry: bed linen, feather beds, carpets, pillows, monists, rings.
Choice of day and month of celebration
Gypsy wedding is a very fun and noisy event. Crazy dancing, touching songs, the sound of guitars and flutes – these are all the usual attributes of a celebration. Therefore, a festive meal lasts at least three days. The freedom-loving people always celebrated their marriage in the summer in order to walk in a big way on nature. Traditions of a Gypsy wedding are steppes lit by fires, carpets laid on grass, low tables with drinks. The custom of celebrating a banquet in the open air is almost outdated, but summertime remains a priority.
Bride theft and ransom payment
Like many other nations, Gypsy traditions provide for the bridegroom’s family to pay a bride price. Usually half of the amount remains with the native girl to compensate for the loss of such a wonderful hostess, and the remainder goes to the new union. As for the size of the ransom, it directly depends on the merits of the bride.
Today, bride theft in Gypsy communities is rare. However, earlier, if the girl’s family was categorically against the wedding of the young, the groom could abduct and take the beloved to his home.
Blessing with Icon or Bread
Gypsies, most – people, free from religion and obligations. But they still confess Orthodoxy in some countries and regions. Orthodox Gypsies at their wedding have their own rituals. Steppe people are subject to a strict hierarchy, they have higher and lower strata of society. The elite camp has the right to make an icon in front of the newlyweds, and commoners are allowed to bless the young with freshly baked bread. Baking a loaf for a gypsy wedding is trusted only by elderly respected matrons with an impeccable reputation.
Tradition of Honor
As mentioned above, Gypsies value moral values very much. Therefore, all the guests at the celebration are given the opportunity to verify the chastity of the bride. This is preceded by the wedding night, or as they said before, “mixing”, that is, the merger of the newlyweds. At the end of the first evening of the Gypsy wedding, the worried bride and groom are escorted to the bedroom or tent. Before the rite of the mysterious night, the parents and the elders of the community say their warm encouraging words, offering to taste a piece of the loaf with salt.
“Honor removal” occurs in the morning. Elderly relatives solemnly carry the bride’s shirt or wedding sheet out of the bedroom on a tray and proudly show it to guests and relatives. Things must be painted in the appropriate color. Woe to that girl and her parents whose shirt is clean. In the traditions of the Gypsy wedding, this fact is provided. Without explanation, the marriage is annulled immediately, and an indelible stain of shame lies on the bride’s family.
The rite of “fraternization” (blood unity)
Coupled with the usual rituals at the gypsy wedding, there is another original custom. Newlyweds after the first night of love should be related in blood. The hands of the bride and groom are cut with a knife to mix their blood. From now on, according to the gypsy customs, the husband and wife must become an indivisible whole, strong family.