Wedding Traditions of Russians

In the old days the wedding did not mean that the marriage of two people was accepted and approved by the society.

New marriage had to be not just agreed by society: after-wedding rituals had a meaning of purification and also approval of the newlyweds.

The most actively these rites were performed during Maslenitsa week.

Demonstration of the Newlyweds

Today, just by changing your status in social networks you can tell the whole world about the changes in your marital status.

Centuries ago, it was done differently. Newlyweds who got married in the last year, during Maslenitsa had to stand in a certain place. Sometimes it was a hill in some village, were all the honeymooners from across the area came to, or sometimes it a place in the same village where they lived, or just sledding during Maslenitsa celebration in the village .

It seems that the main thing in this ritual was to show that “we are together.”

Cleansing of Newlyweds

During Maslenitsa newlyweds were often rolled in the snow, or even buried in the snow. This occurred either during a demonstration of honeymooners, or even during festivities in the village, and newlyweds could be taken away for that ceremony right from their house, including by force.

Sometimes honeymooners were driven in a sleigh drawn by young guys. But the outcome of the drive was still rolling in the snow.


To confirm the marriage during Maslenitsa newlyweds could be asked to kiss. Moreover, anyone could ask for it, and the couple could not refuse. And it didn’t matter where the newlyweds were at the time of the request – on the street or even in a sleigh – they had to kiss.


Pronouncing the names aloud of the newlyweds was another rite of confirmation of their status during Maslenitsa. During the rite the residents of the village, usually married or their children, walked through the village and stopped by the house of the newlyweds and called out their first and last names.  Newlyweds in response treated them with cookies.

These rituals were designed to introduce the newlyweds to a new “circle of life.”


To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

This article contains material s by T.Agapkina.

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