In traditional cultures, the wedding was one of the most important and complex of all social ceremonies, with its own music repertoire.
Cultural treasures preserved in the sound archives of Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia provide a fascinating look view at vanishing wedding traditions and rituals in Eastern Europe from around 1910 to 1970.
Poland – bread, salt and vodka
….The couple empty the glasses and then throw them over their shoulders onto the floor.For there to be happiness in the marriage, the glasses should break. However there is an additional dimension: one glass contains vodka, and the other only water. Of course the couple cannot tell which is which; the one who gets vodka will play a leading role in the new marriage. ….
Lithuania- the family fireplace
…In earlier times, the fireplace and the oven where bread was baked were sacred places in the home. Today, such fireplaces are no longer common; however, when all the wedding guests have taken their seats at the table, the memory of the family fireplace is evoked by the lighting of a candle placed inside a small ceramic fireplace. In this way the young family are reminded of their duty to take care of each other and of their home…
Slovenia – the wedding tollgate
…The wedding tollgate šranga (from the German Schranke – barrier) is a custom that was known across most of the Slovenian ethnic territory. The term itself refers to a barrier or obstacle on the road. At the tollgate, local young men would collect money from the bridegroom either in recompense for taking the bride from the village or to collect money to pay for the bride’s dowry…..
Hungary – rites of reception
….The rites of arrival at the new home, usually linked to threshold and fireplace, are the same as in other countries of the region, but they exist in various forms.When the bride and groom are on their way to the church, young men block the path with a rope, just as in Slovenia. They ask humorous questions, test the groom’s courage or simply demand money from the groom or best man……