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Kashubian wedding traditions

Kashubian wedding traditions was subject of ethnographic research made by Oskar Kolberg. From 39th part of his great novel “Dzieła Wszystkie” we can discover how marriage traditions looked like in Wejherowo area.
The marriage was proceed by matchmaking. Usually it looked this way, that groom celebrated with matchmakers. After they went to bride’s parents and again celebrated and discussed about future marriage. Parents’ permission was necessary but also bride had to accept this marriage. When matchmakers arrived to her parents she hide behind the furnace and if she accepted marriage proposition she joined them. They decided when announcements will be and when be the marriage. Usually marriages were in autumn when people had a lot of food and less work. After announcements groom and brie chosen their best man. They were called “stary” – old man. Day before weeding best mans wear their best clothes, had hats with green flowers, colored ribbons, travel sticks and they walked from house to house and invited people for the wedding.

At this moment groom and bride selected one married woman called “przedanka”.

When guests arrived to bride’s place they were welcomed with white bread, butter and drinking honey (kind of alcohol). Couple were blessed by parents. This party was called Polterabend – noisy night, because before guests entered the house they broke glass (bottles) – more glass = better future. Couple had to clean all this mess…

Day after everyone gathered on church cemetery and after entered to the church where they married. After all people traveled to wedding place. But their way was blocked by kids and local people who demanded gifts – usually they received alcohol and sweets and passed couple. When couple arrived to inn, they celebrated with beer, bread, butter, herring and other traditional foods. Couple eat from the same dishes. The best man’s took “tax” from guests to pay for goods. During wedding bride was all the time with “przedanka’s”.

Guests moved at the evening to place where couple was going to live. Again they celebrated and przedanka’s closed newly married in room and took the key.

Day after guests arrived again and gave money to the couple instead of nuts and bread. Of course they celebrated again till late night.

Day after groom invited his relatives again and this time were present also married women. In Kashuben married women couldn’t took part during 1st and 2nd day of weeding.   Sometimes weeding took even week. After bride moved with “wiano” (goods from her parents like home tools, animals, bedding etc) to grooms place where they were going to live. If they were going to live in bride’s place then usually groom received horse from his father.

Some elements of this tradition are still present on Kashuben. On the photo Kashubian best mans waiting for the guests.