Gypsy Wedding Traditions


Different peoples of the world have peculiar traditions of the wedding ceremony, the knowledge of which is passed down from generation to generation. However, representatives of other nations can also inherit these customs if they want to make their wedding original, enter into a marriage with a bearer of these traditions or study the culture of this people. In many countries, gypsy communities live, and therefore the chances of getting married (or getting married) to a gypsy (gypsy) are very high. What kind of wedding traditions do gypsies have??

Preparing a gypsy bride for a wedding

Gypsy wedding traditions and customs

The gypsy wedding traditionally lasts three days, it is full of customs, many of which have come down to our days from the distant past. A distinctive feature of the marriage of the gypsy people is that a trip to the registry office is not necessary for them, they only need the approval of the community, and divorce is not provided. Another feature is chastity before the wedding and strong moral principles, but because men and women (even the groom and the bride before the second wedding day) are separated during the feast so as not to touch each other.

Matchmaking at a young age

A common tradition among gypsies is the matchmaking of children as early as infancy. Usually this happened in friendly families who would like to become bloodied. The bride does not have to know that she is being married, and this is understandable if at that time she is still a child. In addition, the gypsy families still have a strong classical patriarchal order in which the daughter does not dare to argue with her father even in such an important issue for her.

During the matchmaking, the groom's relatives come to the house of the parents of the girl (or girl) and bring two main attributes:

  • «flat» a bottle of wine (a bottle of wine hung with expensive coins) or «dravets» (a branch hung with scarves and money is used in the customs of Russian gypsies);
  • wedding cake (a loaf covered with a scarf, which is baked by relatives of the groom).

If all this is put on the table, then the bride’s parents don’t mind marrying her daughter to this groom. During the matchmaking, bride-in-law of the future wife takes place, the size of the ransom, which is transmitted to the girl's parents, is stipulated. The contribution of the bride’s side to the well-being of the young family is a rich dowry - mainly pillows, blankets, jewelry, etc..

Early Gypsy Matchmaking

Choosing the day and month of the celebration

A gypsy wedding is a special event. Considering the duration of the holiday (the celebration is divided into three days), it is necessarily appointed for the summer, when guests can walk around, sing, dance in comfortable conditions. Previously, it was customary to set low tables, to spread carpets directly on the ground on which the guests were supposed to sit, which in the cold season would be impossible. Nowadays, this tradition is rarely performed, but the tradition of celebrating in the summer remained.

Removal of the dress of the gypsy bride

Theft of the bride and payment of ransom

In gypsy families, it is customary to pay a ransom for a bride whom the groom wants to marry. Part of it compensates for the loss of the assistant, who was in the house of the girl’s parents, and part goes to the newly formed family. The size of the ransom must be equivalent to the merits of the future wife. If the groom could not pay the required amount of money or the bride’s side did not agree to their daughter’s marriage with him, then he often stole the bride, taken away to his house or outside the community. In our time, future wives are rarely stolen, but if this happens, then all the festive expenses and expenses are transferred to the bride's family.

Traditional ransom of a gypsy bride

The blessing of icon or bread

The blessing of icon and bread is done only by Orthodox Gypsies, but this does not cancel their caste structure, which originates from Indian customs. Therefore, only the upper layers of the community can bless the newlyweds with the icon, the lower layers only with bread. The wedding loaf itself is baked exclusively by those women who have succeeded in family life, while the rest buy it.

Blessing of icon and bread at a gypsy wedding

Tradition «Honor»

Gypsy wedding tradition «Honor» also called a ceremony of information and means the actual union of the newlyweds. The custom is made after the wedding festivities: the bride and groom appear before the oldest relatives who say parting words to them, give bread and salt. Having eaten a piece of baking, the newlyweds go to the wedding tent or bedroom, where the mixing takes place, after which the guests are presented with a tray with the bride’s shirt and red flowers.

There is another version of the tradition, according to which not a shirt is taken out, but a sheet with traces of blood on which the bride lost her virginity. That's what it is «Honor» - a symbolic event that marks the moment of the actual creation of a new family. After the information, the held wife puts on a red dress and goes to the guests. If the shirt is not taken out or there is no blood on the sheet, shame falls on the bride and her family, and the marriage is dissolved.

Gypsies carrying a tray with a wedding sheet

Rite of passage «Fraternization» (blood unity)

Rite of passage «Fraternization» happens between a newly made husband and wife after it has been produced «Honor». It is a demonstration of the unity of blood: incisions are made on the hands of the newlyweds, which then touch, as a result of which the blood mixes on the wounds. From now on, newlyweds are considered relatives, they are obliged to divide everything in half and together raise their children.

Dowry of a gypsy bride

Video: traditional gypsy wedding

The customs of the gypsy wedding is a colorful ethnic phenomenon dating back to the traditions of the classical patriarchal community and unusual for modern Slavs. However, in the past something similar existed on our lands, and therefore it would be interesting and useful for everyone to learn more about the gypsy foundations. You can see how a gypsy wedding is organized and held using the example shown in this video: