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Yangaikina, T. I., & Nazin, P. N. (2020). Historical and Ethnographic Features and Modern Tendencies of Mordovian Wedding Rituals (Based on Field Materials From the Village of Adashevo). Heritage of Centuries, (4), 72-83. https://doi.org/10.36343/SB.2020.24.4.007
Regional Historical and Cultural Studies

Historical and Ethnographic Features and Modern Tendencies of Mordovian Wedding Rituals (Based on Field Materials From the Village of Adashevo)

  • © Yangaikina Tatyana I. Cand. Sci. (Languages of Peoples of Foreign Countries of Europe, Asia, African, American and Australian Aboriginal (Finno-Ugric and Samoyed)), Senior Researcher, Research Institute for the Humanities under the Government of the Republic of Mordovia, Saransk, Russian Federation

  • © Nazin Pavel N. Abbot, Trinity Church of Adashevo Kadoshkinsky District, Republic of Mordovia, Russian Federation


The aim of the study is to assess the degree of compliance of the modern forms of Mordovian wedding rituals spread in the village of Adashevo with traditional ritual practices of the past and to identify the main trends in their evolution. The sources used were ethnographic facts reflected in the field materials the authors collected, archival documents, the results of research by Russian and Mordovian ethnographers. Within the framework of the historical and ethnographic approach, the study used various methods: historiographic, comparative, logical, systemic analysis; empirical (conversation, interview, questioning, visiting rituals), which made it possible to collect the necessary information in archival and field conditions. An example for studying was the wedding of a young Mordovian couple, which took place in the village of Adashevo. The details of the matchmaking, reproduced according to a local informant’s testimony, are considered; the details of the process and the related planning of the upcoming wedding are characterized. Archpriest Pavel (Nazin), one of the authors of the article, conducted the wedding ceremony in the local Trinity Church. The authors give a detailed description of the traditional wedding rituals that follow the church wedding (dressing the bride, naming, gift-giving rituals). The role of some objects (towels, bells, etc.) in wedding rituals is characterized. Special attention is paid to the street procession of guests and to the specific rite of avozen' praftoma [rolling the mother-in-law]. Among the rituals on the second day of the wedding, the custom of making pancakes by the daughter-in-law and the toron kandy [groomsman], and ceremonies with the posazhyonnaya mat’ [woman giving the bride to the groom], are described. The role and place of newlyweds at the wedding table in the past and present are characterized. The general and special elements of the Mordovian wedding ritual complex, common in the village of Adashevo, have been identified. It has been established that most of the traditional rituals are still preserved: matchmaking, weddings, bride complaints, weddings in national costumes. Over time, many rituals lost their original meaning and were performed only according to tradition, some received a new understanding, and others acquired a comic playful character. Most of the rituals are currently perceived not as a truly sacred act, but rather are a simple reproduction of forms that took place in the past, a kind of tribute to tradition, the adherence to which is not accompanied by a deep comprehension.

Keywords: ethnography, ethnos, Mordvins, wedding ceremony,, wedding, marriage, custom, tradition, rite, ritual, attributes