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In the Kokshen'ga Basin, the day following the presentation before the tables included a feast at the bride's house, the church ceremony, and a feast at the groom's. On the morning of the crowning day the bride would distribute krasota ribbons to her friends, and also be "paid" by her father. She would receive a handful of small coins from him—a symbolic payment for the years of work in her parents' house.
She would then throw the coins to her friends and, in a prichet, ask them to count, saying that it seems a small sum—her father must have taken out the price of the clothing the dowry.
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The bride's mother would bake a special bread and put it on the bride's head, and with this her maidenhood was truly over. The guests would again be seated at the table in the bride's house, where she had been "presented" on the previous night.
The bride again puts on beautiful clothes, although these are not as expensive and ritually determined as the outfit she wore for the presentation. This time, the tables are for the feast. Once the bride is dressed, she is led out to the table by her father in a ritual matter—not by the hand, but by a kerchief, which is wound about her hand like a loop.
The bride walks slowly and has to return to the kut' at least three times, ostensibly because she forgets something—to say goodbye to her "green orchard and beautiful paradise," to "part with her krasota," or "because she forgot her friends. The father leads the bride to the table and hands her over to the groom, saying, "I have given my daughter to you. Concluding prichety may be performed as the bride walks to her place at the table and sits down next to the groom, but then comes a decisive break in the mood of the wedding: Once the maidens begin to celebrate, the bride's laments cease.
Balashov describes the transition: When the wedding departs from the bride's house, the bride wears a shawl over her head or is covered in some other mannter. This is the moment when the most precautions were taken against witchcraft: There are tales about whole wedding companies turned into animals, bears or wolves.
After the crowning, her hair is parted, two braids are made, the svatya the female officiate on the groom's side winds them around her head, and a woman's head-dress borushka is put on. After that, the bride is again covered with the shawl, the groom again picks her up to put into the carriage or sled, and, covered, she is taken to his house.
At the feast at the groom's house the father-in-law 'opens' the bride—picks up her shawl, and three times circles the heads of the newlyweds posolon' in the direction of the sun with it.
At this moment the svatya exclaims, "Praise the young wife! The bride would then ritually requst permission from her parents-in-law to call them "father" and "mother" and to ask their blessng "to eat bread. At this concluding feast there are, of course, no laments, and indeed no strictly ritual songs or any kind, just praise songs, feasting, and merriment. In Siberia, the arrival of the groom's procession at the bride's house was followed not by the presentation before the tables but rather by another ritual, known as branyo 'taking'.
The several episodes of this ritual combined to accomplish the goal of handing the bride over to the groom. The first step was called posad 'sitting', or rather, 'making the bride sit' and it took place in some villages before the arrival of the procession, in others after this. Potanina speculates that the songs where the bride is described as "sitting taller than all" had to do with this rite at some point, though they had become dissociated from it.
In some villages, people recall an apparently even older practice of posad for both the bride and the groom upon his arrival. They were made to sit on felt or carpet, which is reminsicent of the practice in other regions of making the bride sit on a fur coat. When the groom's procession arrived, the brother of the bride would lock the gates and not let them in until they bought their way in with gifts and alcohol.
Once this was done, the groomsman would deposit the gifts on a specially prepared table and at once have to produce new ones, now to buy his way into the house. Before this could be done someone sometimes the best men, druzhka, sometimes another officiant from the groom's side, sometimes even the bride's brother had to buy both her place at the table and her braid from the maidens.
At first he offered small change, and here was a chance for the bride's friends to perform their blaiming and teasing songs. Sometimes this was done at the devichnik, and then the bride was actually present, sitting next to her brother. In this case, the groom had to watch carefully, for the bride's side might whisk her away and put another dressed up maiden in her place.
The game was repeated several times usually three until the groom paid a suitable ransom and succeeded in taking the bride's place. Next came the buying and selling of the braid. The bride's brother would hold an object symbolizing the braid usually a decorated tree-branch in one hand and a knife in another hand and, in spoken verse a genre called prigovorwould describe the virtues of the braid it was combed all night, for example, and done up neatly and then threaten to cut it off if a suitable prize was not paid.
Once the braid was sold, the maidens performed a prigovor of their own, testifying to the generosity of the groomsman and the fact that the braid had been sold. Only then was the bride brought out, and again, with a game. At first, for example, the bride's friends might bring out a chest of linens in her stead, or offer money as ransom. On their second attempt, the maidens would offer the groom a horse.
The groom, of course, declined these offers. At the wedding of the Old Believers of Zaboikalye the game took a different form, remarkably reminiscent of wide-spread folk tales. At first the groom was offered a maiden dressed in tattered clothes, dirty, uncombed, and with some such implements as an old broom in her hand or an old bucket on her head. For the second time he was offered a choice amongst three maidens dressed in the same clothes, one of whom was indeed his bride.
He could not, of course, see her face, and had to pick his "princess" out of the line-up. If he made a mistake, he paid a hefty prize in money to the bride's side and the game resumed. Finally, the bride's parents would join the hands of the bride and the groom, bless them with an icon, and pronounce a traditional formula instructing the groom to take care of the bride. After some preparation, departure for church followed, and after it the feast at the groom's house, where, of course, no laments were allowed.
There is no ready-made category for describing what the bride does in a traditional Russian village wedding when she performs her laments. Is she acting, as if in a play? To some extent she does, since she is supposed to lament and look sad, even if she feels quite happy and wishes nothing more than to marry the groom. Is the bride expressing her personal emotions? This is also true, and many former brides even the ones who married willingly recall the passion and sincerity of their laments and the emotional responses of their families.
At the same time, she is performing a ritual known and important to all concerned, a ritual to the script of which she is expected to adhere. The language of laments remains traditional but fluid, the degree of play-acting and self-expression in each wedding performance is unique, and yet it would be facile to say simply that such performances are a mixture of the personal and the traditional: The wedding follows a traditional scenario, and in it the bride plays the role of the bride and laments as brides do, acting her own self in a strikingly artful and elaborate way.
As Balashov reports, the brides in some Vologda villages would in effect speak in verse for the whole week of their wedding. The sheer mass of songs, laments, and versified sayings involved is one of the most striking features of Russian village weddings, especially in regions where prichety were widely practiced.
Choral songs of the maidens, solo laments of the bride, laments of the bride's mother, prichet-exchanges between the bride and her parents, brother, and siblings are notable on the bride's side, but there was also a large number of songs on the groom's side which fall beyond the scope of this paper, but deserve a brief acknowledgement. There were praise songs for the groom, songs by the women of his family and village to send off the procession to the bride's house and to welcome the bride, joking and sexually explicit songs, and multiple versified sayings by the groomsman to accompany his various actions.
Some of the latter were certainly compositions in performance, and a good groomsman would have a quick wit and a ready response to whatever resistance or teasing he might encounter from the bride's side. In records from Siberia published by Potanina, the groomsman says something in verse almost constantly: Within this opera, songs of praise were addressed to the bride and the groom, of course, but also to the wedding officiants and guests, for example in return for gifts at several gift-giving occasions within the wedding.
There were also songs of blame directed at all concerned, though the bride seems to be blamed only rarely. The groom, on the other hand, receives his fair share, and the officiants are subjected to the greatest number of these songs, which are often mocking and humorous.
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There was also a great number of lyrical songs containing every shade of joyfulness and sadness, some of which were free-floating and could be performed at numerous points during the wedding, including songs that belong to the two large thematic cycles: The laments, therefore, are only a small part of the wedding poetry.
They are also a distinct part, and here is it necessary to explain with more precision what I mean by the term "lament. The wedding songs were performed chorally, and indeed it seems that the Russian traditional wedding had no solo singing at all.
The songs were known to the performers in advance and they were transmitted orally in a fixed form. The prichety, by contrast, were mostly monodic and fluid. Monodic prichets were compositions in performance. With such prichety, each performance is unique, and the records that survive mostly represent the performers' later re-performances and re-constructions of what they performed at the wedding.
Song and prichety are metrically distinct, although there is also occasional overlap. Researchers note the rhythmically repetitive pattern of the prichety and some find that the metrical scheme usually a four or five foot trochee with a dacytlic coda reflects the "familiar intonation of crying. Wedding songs are metrically and melodically more varied, but, interestingly, their melodic contours are also influenced by the ritual formulae, and some songs approach laments in their prosody.
One prosodic feature of the prichet that is not found in the songs, however, is trailing off at the ends of verses, with the last word or several last syllables not pronounced at all or added in a whisper. These combinations of nouns and epithets are for the most part highly stable formulaic expressions the term is used by the scholars of Russian folklorewhich prichety share with other oral traditional poetry, for example, epic tales. The degree of fluidity of form depended, of course, both on the occasion and on the performer.
Some young women were known for their skill and talent as lamenters, and when it was the turn of such a master to be the prima donna in her own wedding opera, crowds would gather to listen. The creativity of the such performers did not alter, however, the profoundly traditional nature of their art.
As Balashov remarks, even apparently free compositions, even by the most creative and renowned performers, once compared with other prichety, "turn out nevertheless to be creative recombinations of the traditional elements and canonical images and expressions. Because they are compositions in performance the prichety vary in their length and poetic qualities much more than wedding songs. Barsov recorded an expanded "text" of the wedding ritual and prichety from I. Feodosova, an exceptional and famed performer with by then forty-five years of experience.
As Chistova and Chistov remark in their commentary on Basov's edition, this "text" represents a "maximum variant" of the wedding prichety, an "anthology" created not by the collector, but by the performer herself.
Needless to say, the skills and professionalism of performers would vary greatly, but my impression is that it would be highly unusual for a bride to not be able to lament at all, and her ability to do it well was a valued quality. The art was learned from childhood: Little girls, it seems, could observe practically any stage of the wedding that involved the bride and her friends.
Here is how one respondent answered a researcher's question about learning prichety: The memory is inherited! And besides we used to go to the weddings when we were little — the little ones remember well!
One respondent in Balashov's study recalled the following dialogue between the bride and her guests, in which the bride's comment on her prichety is itself characterized as a prichet: Prichety are both more closely tied to the ritual of the wedding and more personal than the wedding songs. As Shmelyova remarks, the bride's prichety are "like monologues of the wedding's main actor" and express both her emotion and to some extent the"script" of the wedding. Such occasions demanded close adherence to the traditional wording, though these prichety could, of course, be optionally expanded.
Although both formally and even thematically these ritual prichety are similar to the "personal" ones, they are ritually required speech-acts and not what is commonly understood in English by the word "lament.
These can indeed be termed laments. Commenting on the bride's prichety in the Pinezhye region, Shmelyova observes that, they were, at least in Pinezhye, not firmly attached to any particular moment in the wedding, and indeed not even required, but were expected to convey something about the bride, her emotions and thoughts. The brides tended to achieve this in different ways, sometimes by personalizing the prichety, making them reflect the particular realia of the bride's circumstances, and sometimes by expanding the prichety poetically, adding similes, metaphors, hyperbolic descriptions etc.
The distinction between these two types of prichety is not formal, and indeed represents two ends of a continuum.
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Any ritual prichet could be expanded by a bride to become also a personal one. Still, according to Potanina, in Siberia too there was a marked difference between those prichety that commented on the fabula of the wedding, and the lyrical prichety of the bride, which are close in form to songs, and are even described as song-prichety.
In such cases, the song-prichet typically has a slow tempo and developed melody while the solo prichet is performed in a fast tempo and its melodic contour is immediately based on the prosody of the verse. Prichet and song-prichet could also enter into a dialogue when they performed simultaneously but without having overlapping texts: Ritual, lyrical, or both, prichety could be powerfully expressive. There are multiple reports of the brides performing with such emotion and skill that the assembled women, both relatives and onlookers, would be brought to tears.
The men could cry as well, and there are recollections on record of the fathers' shedding tears as they listen to their daughters and their being unable to carry on with their part of the action, overcome by emotion.
Balashov records an instance when a father was so moved by his daughter's laments as he was leading her out to the table that he stopped and, crying, announced: Go on your own!
The ritual of the 'covering' or 'curtaining' of the bride in Zaonezhye is a good illustration of the range of behaviors that was possible. Some brides lamented easily but they were still expected to show grief: She could run away, the women would have to catch her, and there are reports of brides tearing their kerchiefs with their teeth, biting and hiding. Relationship Quotes For Guys Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers.
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