Kurochkin Oleksandr – a Doctor of History, a professor of the Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts
Censored Components of Traditional Ukrainian Wedding
As one acquaints oneself with numerous publications, one may conclude that by now, better documented and examined is the initial, solemn part of conventional Ukrainian wedding – from matchmaking till the ritual of komora (granary’s defloration and subsequent bride’s chemise display), other than the conclusive one – rich in multiform games, dances, jokes, tricks, obscene songs, mummery, and carnival and risorial elements.
Such a state of affairs, as Khv. Vovk assumed, was caused, on the one hand, by the pudency of ethnographers, and by the sternness of Russian censorship, on the other. Drastic changes in approaches to folkloric erotica and other forbidden issues occurred already as soon as upon the collapse of the Soviet Union and the whole system of totalitarian ideological control.
It is important to find out whence the tradition of preconceived treatment of nuptial amusements, games and dances originate. The tradition is as long-drawn as Christianity on Ukrainian terrains. It has been initiated by the zealots of Christian devotion – the early medieval Church writers and preachers waging the consistent struggle against every manifestation of heathen world-view, religion and culture. Although clergy assiduously struggled with people’s propensity to demonic merriment, the effect of sermons and disclosures was apparently very little. A long trail of stick from ecclesiastical and later secular authors on games and dances, as well as other festive and ritual amusements, of the Eastern Slavs, particularly Ukrainians, persuasively affirms that the heritage of ancestors was sturdily retained. Taking into consideration the conservatism of living environment, one may suppose that a good few of entertaining forms and behavioral stereotypes have come to us since time immemorial.
Based on the component structure of heathen nuptial ritual, one may present the process of its reconstruction as the search and juxtaposition of semantically related verbal, actional and subject texts.
wedding, heathenism, Christianity, game, song, dance, ritual erotica.
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