Modern matchmaking has a formal character. If the newlyweds will tell their parents about the plans for the future, it is already good. The groom in a suit comes to the house of the bride with a bouquet of flowers and a cake on the appointed day in order to ask the parents the hand of their daughter. Having received the consent, the couple goes to the house of the groom to meet his parents. Now the bride is already with a bouquet of flowers and dressed to the nines – her task is to make a good impression and convince her future mother-in-law that she will be a good housewife and her son will be in safe female hands.
But times change and now in the Ukraine there is no such luxurious theatrical action as a wedding anymore... But once ... before the two hearts were connected legally, there was a special ritual, called a matchmaking.
Before the marriage, the potential groom sent into the house of his beloved some special people - matchmakers. These matchmakers received the consent for the marriage from the parents of the girl. In the role of matchmakers were either the groom himself, his relatives or his godparents. Later on, it even became a profession - matchmakers started to search the bride for the groom and agreed about the dowry. A good matchmaker was really popular and always in great demand.
If the matchmakers or groom knew about the positive consent of the bride and her family in advance, then all the actions could become rather curvaceous.
The matchmakers came to the bride on horses decorated with flowers, with loaves tied with the help of wedding towels. But more often, everything was done in private, as first of all people were afraid of malefice.
Also it was done when there was no certainty in a positive consent of the girl, as the refusal to the groom was considered to be a great shame.
If she refuses to marry the groom who came to her, then she take out of the house the Ukrainian “garbuz” or the pumpkin. Then there will not be a wedding. But if she agrees, then she will give the groom and his relatives bread and salt. Exactly the bread and salt are the symbols of hospitality and prosperity in the Ukraine. Usually, the bride also gave the groom a towel, which embroidered by herself.
A few days after the ritual of matchmaking, the parents of the bride came to the house of the groom in order to get acquainted with his family and farming, as well as to see in what family they give their daughter. This visit was called the “bride-show”.
Here is an interesting fact: the ethnographers have noted that there were times when the bride could go for matchmaking the first. This occurred in case if the man dishonored the woman and didn’t hurry to send the matchmakers, then the deceived woman came with her things in the house of the unfair man. Besides it was considered a shame for the family to kick her out of the house. In addition, the Ukrainian girl could save a life to a convicted to death cossack by saying: “He will marry me. Let him go”. (5)
The alternative to matchmaking was steal of the brides (6). If the “stealer” could steal his favorite girl and hold her for a night, after that, he already had to marry her (for sure if the bride is agree).