Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ah, those Danish-Russian wedding traditions... Drinking from the shoe, cutting socks, hanging locks...

Lock your love inside the check lock on the bridge and throw out the key. Now none and nothing can break your love :)

Ah, those Danish-Russian wedding traditions... Drinking from the shoe, cutting socks, hanging locks...

It probably doesn't make any sense to you. Or it does but partially. That's if you are Danish or Russian and are familiar with the wedding traditions of Denmark and/or Russia.

Well, starting with that my best friend from Russia got married to a Dane and moved to Denmark to live only a few kilometers away from me! Good start, right?

All pictures here are actually hers. As you can see her name is Masha or Maria. In Russia we have an official name and a common, let's say, daily name.

Anyway, Masha and her husband had a great wedding! It was not a big one, only relatives and very few friends, including me featuring as
bridesmaid and friend :) But it was extremely hyggelig (sort of "cosy" in English) and with both Russian and Danish wedding traditions involved. That was really fun!

Isn't it romantic? 
It all started with the registration of course. Right after we drove to a bridge where the newlyweds hanged their lock and threw out the key into the water, so that none could "break" their love. It's a widely-spread Russian tradition, which is also slowly coming to Denmark. They do it in big cities here.

When we came back to the house where the festive part was supposed to happen, we saw a beautifully decorated entrance. The newly married were taken pictures of and................ guess what.......... strewed with rice of course! Ah, those Danes :)

I remember me and my husband getting married. Not only were we strewed with rice after the registration, but there was also rice everywhere in our bedroom. We got married in October last year but I'm still coming across rice here and there in our bedroom!

Well, back to Masha's wedding. The groom had to carry the bride into the house, through that wonderfully decorated entrance. Which he surely did and we started with cold drinks and chatting.

Then, I saw something I didn't expect to see - karavai! It's a Russian word for a round loaf which has been baked in Russia specially for wedding days since the pagan times.

Though none of us seemed to remember what exactly it represents and how it had to be used, we combined our efforts and came to the conclusion. The karavai had to be bitten from two sides by the bride and groom at the same time. The one who bites off the biggest piece, is the master of the house!

Karavai. The evidence.
So the Danish groom bit off the biggest piece, which you can see above. Masha seemed to be happy with it. Can you imagine a Danish bride to be happy about not being the master of the house?! 

Well, the other Danes were so excited about the groom to have "won this competition"! They started taking pictures right away and making jokes that now they have an evidence for the future :)

Now it was time to have something to eat. The table was elegantly decorated and had Russian and Danish flags on it.

It's a Danish tradition to have their flags on the table when celebrating. Celebrating anything, actually. But since the bride is Russian, there was also place for Russian flags.

> We actually did the same at our wedding. We even had a very big Russian flag hanging on the wall <

So we were eating, drinking, chatting... Well, in short we were enjoying hygge (cosiness, cosy atmosphere).

Suddenly somebody realized that we hadn't seen the bride for some time now. When calling for her, none responded. She was definitely not in the house, but neither outside... That was getting strange...

Then someone said that the bride had been stolen!!


Relax! Remember, it's not a horror story, but a story of happiness and successful combination of Russian and Danish wedding traditions.

It's an old Russian tradition, when the bride gets "stolen" and hidden by some of the guests while the groom is out of the room. So he has to find the bride. But that's not the end of the quest /hmm

The "thieves" want an award in exchange for the bride.

The groom has to drink vodka (in Russia) from the bride's shoe!! Will he agree on it? Will he drink from her shoe to get her back?

To find out watch our next episode "Drinking from the shoe. What's wrong with you, man??"

Just kidding /wahaha

He surely drank from her shoe. The action was photographed and the pictures were added to the "evidence folder."

Have you ever drunk from a bride's shoe? Sometimes you just have to!
Now the bride was back and none inclined to steal her again. Though it was fun to watch a man drinking from a shoe.

In Denmark the "punishment" for the bride or groom's leaving of 
the room is "slightly" different from what you've just read. If the 
groom leaves the room, all the male guests kiss the new bride, 
and if the bride leaves the room, all the female guests 
kiss the groom! 

This tradition did not take place at this wedding.

Back to our newlyweds though. Some time later the Danish wedding waltz started playing which meant the newly married had to dance. That's a Danish tradition. While the couple was dancing, the guests were applauding and getting closer and closer to the bride and groom, until the latest couldn't really move.

Decapitated sock of the Danish groom
Here the "decapitation" of the groom's socks took place. Can you imagine this "brutal" act? The well-dressed groom looking all nice and groomed, with one little detail though. His socks miss their toes!

The bride didn't seem to care much about it. She can sew after all :)

Now it was time for the sweetest part of the evening...

The wedding cake
Wedding cake of course!

The newlyweds cut the cake together as a married couple, to avoid bad luck. The top of the cake should be saved for the first anniversary as a reminder of their special day.

The cake was really something! Even though I was totally full, I couldn't deny myself the pleasure of having a piece of that wonderful masterpiece.

We hyggede os (had a nice, cosy time) a little longer and drove home full, happy and tired.

BTW!!! It's a great idea to combine the home countries' traditions of both the bride and groom. Even if you have a very small wedding, I would really recommend that you should include the traditions of your countries. But also remember, do not follow those traditions that you don't feel comfortable with, just because it's something you "have to do". Pick only those you'd like to include and have everything going naturally. Believe me, it will be one of the best experiences in your life!

In the comments below share with us the traditions you followed or are planning to follow at YOUR wedding and how you felt about it.

You might also want to read more about marriage and wedding in Denmark. Have a look here: Those Funny Danes and here: Documents you need to have to get married to your beloved Dane

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