Wedding Customs

My knowledge of Estonian wedding customs comes from a leaflet on the subject distributed by Mark and Klaire to their guests. There are too many for me to include them all, so I'll just list a few of the most interesting:

  • The bridal couple throw coins on the four roads of every crossroads they pass on the way to the wedding. This is supposed to bring wealth.
  • All the couple's troubles are packed into a nutsack, which a stranger must then carry away with him.
  • Casting lead on the couple will ensure faith and understanding. (How much lead isn't specified.)
  • At the wedding both fathers-in-law must climb under the table to check that evil spirits have not corrupted the food. If they come across a demon, they have to give it a glass of vodka. While it drinks, the fathers-in-law must kick its ass (it says here). The demon flees.
  • Left-over food must be left on the table and not cleared up till dawn, so that lost ghosts and wandering spirits can eat it.
  • Spitting into the well, barn, stable or sauna is forbidden, as it will lead to ill-health for the couple.
  • Should the bride give her stocking or scarf to anyone at the wedding it means she wants him or her to keep guard at the bedroom door during the night.
  • If the groom stumbles or curses while walking next to the bride, it means that he has not lost his youthful wildness (he still has horns). He must walk ten times clockwise round the bride to shorten his horns again.
  • It is common for the wedding procession to encounter roadblocks on the way to the ceremony (again, I quote). The couple must bribe the culprit with a bottle of strong spirit before they can proceed on their way. (This explains why the roadblocks are so common, I suppose.)
  • If the bride is kidnapped at the wedding, the groom has to try and save her and is given various tests by the kidnappers. He has to take a stone with him to give to the kidnappers once he has saved her.
  • If a guest accidentally steps in a cow pat at the wedding, he or she will automatically be invited to the christening of the couple's first child.

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