How matchmakers needed to behave on customs of our ancestors?
Time since the beginning of October to the middle of November in Russia were a time of weddings. And everything began with courtship. In the cities women were engaged in it, in villages charged this role to men from among the groom`s relatives (the godfather, the uncle, the elder brother) who had to be married.
As the leading role in prewedding actions was assigned to the matchmaker, the matchmaker, matchmakers, their behavior was regulated by the most strict rules which the originated in depth of the ancient traditions based on a set of signs and superstitions.
Choosing date of visit in so responsible occasion, it was required to mean by all means preference of odd numbers three, five, seven, nine and adversity of the thirteenth. Besides, it was more useless to begin courtship on Monday, Wednesday and on Friday, and in other to go to the girl`s parents after sunset to avoid a malefice.
But at first it was necessary to sit down in the house of the groom on a chair with the legs which are tied up by a belt, to entangle reins a chimney, then to pray before an icon of the Mother of God, to rub off it a pure towel and to read wedding plot. At the exit from the house of svatovsky delegation in backs threw a bast shoe full of holes, addressing thereby and wishing good luck in business. To the house of future bride went through a backyard, moved kitchen gardens, on the road tried not to stop and to anybody not to talk.
Entering a log hut, the matchmaker had to steal a broom in an outer entrance hall and hide at herself under a hem, holding thus during all subsequent ritual of courtship. It was considered as reliable help in achievement of success. Which - where it took with itself a stick or a poker, symbolizing successful “ emptying of the bride “.
The matchmaker in one places had to enter promptly, others, on the contrary, to open a door in three steps: at first slightly - slightly, then - more widely and at last completely. Which - where the matchmaker needed to find at first a mortar in which the marriageable maiden pounded flax and to wrap up it around herself three times. In some places matchmakers before knocking at a door, imperceptibly concerned its jamb - on good luck.
At an entrance of matchmakers to a room it was necessary to close immediately a door on a hook and not to open before completion of negotiations. It was also perceived as means from a malefice. Before beginning conversation, the matchmaker or the matchmaker should heat hands at the furnace. This custom was connected with a belief that there, in an oven, souls of the died relatives are found, and the touch to it meant at the same time and the act of a display to them respect, and the request for council - the help.
The matchmaker at the first visit could not sit, eat and drink at all since it could affect posterity of future family harmful:
- if the matchmaker will sit down, children will be “ seduna “ i.e. will not be able long to learn to go;
- if will eat - children will be born gluttons,
- if will begin to drink though and tea - will hit in alcoholism when grow up.
But there was also other custom which permitted to matchmakers to take seats. However, in this case they had to settle opposite to an entrance door, and to put legs on the floor board conducting to an exit. It was considered as guarantee of success in courtship too. The imperceptible contact of matchmakers of a leg of a table was considered as a good sign too.
Conversation was started from far away and provided a set of allegories: about goods and the merchant, about a marten and the hunter. Its outcome could be a miscellaneous, and the fullest scenario included not one, but two - three visits of matchmakers, and even it is more. Courtship - only the first point in prewedding ceremonies. It was followed by arrangement, survey of economy of the groom, shows of the bride, handshake and hard drinking. And only then - a wedding.