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slightest negligence or divergence men assemble at the house of the from this rule being severely bridegroom, and the women at judged and commented upon; and that of the bride. The young mortal offence has often been people only accompany the bridal taken by a guest, who bitterly pair to church—the elder members complains that he was only twice of both families remaining at home invited. In some villages it is, until the third invitation has been moreover, customary to invite delivered. Then all togei her proanew for each one of the separate ceed to the house of the bride, meals which take place during the where the first day's festivities three or four days of the wedding are held. festivities.
There is much speechifying and Early on the wedding morning drinking of healths, and various the bridegroom despatches the meals are served up at intervals Wortman with the Morgengabe of three and four hours' distance, (morning gift) to the bride. This each guest being provided with a consists in a pair of new shoes, to covered jug, which must be always which are sometimes added other kept replenished with wine. small articles, such as handker- It is usual for each guest to chiefs, ribbons, a cap, apples, nuts, bring a small gist or contribution &c. The ambassador, in deliver to the newly-set-up household of ing over the gifts 10 the Wort. the young couple, and these are man of the other party, speaks deposited on a table spread for as follows:
the purpose in the centre of the “Good morning, Herr Wort- courtyard; or, if the weather be man, and all worthy friends here unfavourable, inside the house, assembled; the friends from our bride and bridegroom standing side have charged me to wish you on either side to receive the all a very good morning. I have gifts. further come here to remind you First it is the bridegroom's of the laudable custom of our father who, approaching the defathers and grandfathers, who be. corated table. deposits thereon a thought themselves of presenting new shining ploughshare, as symtheir brides with a trifling morn- bol that his son must earn his ing gift. In the same way our bread by the sweat of his brow; young master the bridegroom, not then the mother advances with a wishing to overlook this goodly new pillow, adorned with bows of patriarchal custom, has likewise coloured ribbon, and silver headsent me here with a trifling offer- pins stuck at the four corners. ing to his bride, trusting that this These gay adornments are meant small gift may be agreeable and to represent the pleasures and pleasing to you all."
joys of the married state; but The bride, on her side, sends to two long streamers of black ribthe bridegroom a new linen shirt, bon, which hang down to the sewed and embroidered with her ground on either side, are placed own hands. This shirt he wears there likewise, to remind the only twice-once on his wedding young couple of the crosses and morning for going to church, the misfortunes which must inevitably second time when he is carried to fall to their share. his grave.
The other relations of the brideBefore going to church all the groom follow in due precedence, each with a gift in their hands. in eating, broken open a bone, in Sometimes it is a piece of home- order to get at the marrow within, made linen, a coloured handker- and next morning, when the god chief, or some other article of dress commanded the goats to get up, or decoration ; sometimes a roll of one of them limped on the hindsheet-iron, a pair of scissors, thread leg, because of the broken bone. and needles, a packet of nails, or a At first Thor was in a great rage, farming or gardening implement, and threatened to destroy the each one laying down his or her whole family, but finally allowed offering with the words, “May it himself to be pacified, and acbe pleasing to you."
cepted the two sons as hostages. Then follow the kinsfolk of the In the peasant drama we have bride with similar gifts; her father now before us, the gods Thor and presenting her with a copper cal- Loki are replaced by a colonel and dron or a kettle, the mother with a lieutenant-colonel, and instead a second pillow, decorated in the of two goats, there are two horses same manner as the first one. and one goat, also the two sons of
Playful allusions are not unfre- the peasants are here designated quently concealed in these gifts,-a as Wallachians. Everything is of doll's cradle, or a young puppy-dog course much distorted and changed, wrapped in swaddling clothes, often but still all the principal features figuring among the presents ranged of the drama, which space forbids on the table.
me here to enlarge upon, are clearVarious games and dances fillly recognisable. The killing of the up the pauses between the meals ; goat and its subsequent resurrecsongs and speeches, often of a tion, the rage of the colonel, and somewhat coarse and cynical na- the transferment of the two Walture, being a part of the usuallachians into his service, being all programme. Among the games parts of the performance. enacted at some of the Saxon At midnight, or sometimes later, peasant weddings, there is one when the guests are about to dewhich deserves to be mentioned, part, there prevails in some vilaffording as it does a curious proof lages a custom which goes by the of the tenacity of old Pagan rites naine of den Borten abtanzenand customs, transmitted by ver- dancing down the bride's crown bal tradition from one generation or head-dress. This head-covering, to the other. This is the Rössel which can only be described as reTanz, or dance of the horses, evi- sembling a chimney-pot hat withdently founded on an ancient Scan- out brim or crown, and from dinavian legend to be found in which depend long streamers of Snorri's · Edda.' In this tale, the ribbon reaching to the ground, is gods Thor and Loki came to a the sign of her maiden hood, which peasant's house in a carriage drawn she must Jay aside now that she by two goats or rams, and asked has become a wife, and it is danced for a night's lodging. Thor killed off in the following manner. All the two rams, and with the peas- the married women present, except, ant and his family consumed their perhaps, a few very old and deflesh for supper.' The bones were crepit ones, join hands, the two then ordered to be thrown in a brideswomen taking the bride beheap on to the hides of the animals; tween them. Thus forming a wide but one of the peasant's sons had, circle, they dance backwards and forwards, round and round the her as soon as she steps outside. room, sometimes forming a knot For greater precaution, the man in the centre, sometimes far apart often holds her round the waist with outstretched arms, till sud- with both hands during the dance denly, either by accident or on pur- which immediately takes place bepose, the chain is broken through fore the church, and at which they at one place, which is the signal assist merely as spectators, taking for all to rush out into the court- no active part, as it is not conyard, still holding hands. From sidered seemly to dance in the some dark corner there now springs church attire. unexpectedly a stealthy robber, As commonly several couples one of the bridesmen, who has are married at the same time, it is been lying there in wait to rob usual for each separate weddingthe bride of her crown. Some- party to bring its own band of times she is defended by two music, and dance thus indepenbrothers or relations, who, dealing dently of the others. out blows with twisted handker- On the occasion of a triple wedchiefs or towels, endeavour to keep ding I lately witnessed, it ihe thief at a distance; but the very amusing to watch the three struggle always ends with the loss wedding-parties coming down the of the head-dress, which the young street, each accelerating its pace matron bewails with many tears till it came to be a sort of race up and sobs. The brideswomen now to the church-door to secure the solemnly invest her with her new best dancing-place. The ground head-gear, which consists in a being rough and slanting, there was snowy cap and veil, held together only one spot where anything like by silver or jewelled pins, which a flat dancing-floor could be obare sometimes considerable tained, and the winning party at value.
once secured this enviable position, When the young couple go to while the others had to put up church the day after the wedding, with an inclined plane or a few they are met at the church-door hillocks accidenting their ball-room by a group of masked figures, who floor. surround them, singing and hoot- The ten to sixteen couples being, and playfully endeavour to longing to each wedding-party are separate the young matron from enclosed in a ring of bystanders, her husband. If they succeed in each rival band of music playing so doing, then he must win her away with heroic disregard for the back in a hand-to-hand fight with scorched of the listeners. his adversaries, or else he must " Polka !"' calls out the first group; give a piece of money as her " Walzer!" roars the second, for ransom.
it is a point of honour that each In general, it is considered a bad party should display a noble inomen for the married life of the dependence in taking its own line young couple if the wise be separ- of action; and if, out of mere coated from her husband on this incidence, two of the bands happen occasion, therefore it is customary to strike up the self-same tune, for the young husband to take his one of them is sure to change to stand close by the church-door something totally different as soon while his wife is praying within, as aware of the unfortunate misand then be ready to catch hold of take,-the caterwauling effect pro
ducerl by this system baffling all end, and henceforward the earnest description. "This is nothing of life begins. at all," said the worthy pastor, from whose garden I
By-and-by, when a few months looking the scene, laughing at have passed over the head of the the evident dismay with which I new-married couple, and the young endeavoured to stop my matron becomes aware that the “Sometimes we have eight or ten prophecies pointed at by the doll's weddings at a time, each with cradle and the broken distaff are their own fiddlers. That is some- likely to come true, she is carething worth hearing indeed!" fully instructed as to the conduct
The rest of that day is spent she must observe in order to ensure much in the same manner as the the wellbeing of herself and her former one, only this time in the child. house of the bridegroom's parents. In the first place, she must on
Among the customs attached no account conceal her state, or to this first day of wedded life deny it when interrogated on the is that of breaking the distaff. subject—for if she do so, her If the young matron can succeed child will never learn to speak; in doing so at one stroke across nor may she wear beads on her her knee, then she will be sure neck, for that would cause the to have strong and healthy sons. infant to be strangled at its birth. If the reverse, she has only girls Carrying peas or beans in her to expect.
will produce malignant The third day is called the eruptions; and sweeping a chimfinishing-up day, each of the two ney will make the child narrowfamilies assembling its own friends breasted. and relations to consume the pro- On no account should she be visions remaining over from the allowed to pull off her husband's former banquet, and at the same boots, nor to hand him a glowing time to wash up the cooking uten- coal to light his pipe ; for both sils and the crockery, restoring these actions bring misfortune. whatever has been borrowed from In driving to market she may not neighbours in the shape of plates, sit with her back to the horses, wine-jugs,&c.,&c., the new-married nor may she ever drink at the couple joining the entertainment, well out of a wooden bucket. now at the one, now at the other Also, her intercourse with the house. This day is the closing of pig-sty must be very carefully the wedding festivities, which have regulated ; for if she listen too atkept both families in a state of tentively to the grunting of pigs, unusual bustle and excitement for her child will have a deep gruntfully a week. Everything now re- ing voice; and if she kick the turns to everyday order and regui- swine or push them away with larity, the young couple usually her foot, the infant will have taking up their abode in a small bristly hair on its back. Hair on back-room in the house of the the face will be the result of beatyoung man's parents, and putting ing a dog or cat, and twins will be off till the following spring the the consequence of eating double important business of setting to cherries or sitting at the corner build a house of their own. Danc- of the table. ing and feasting are now at an During this time she may not
stand godmother to any other fingers rubbed with oil on every child, or else she will lose her seventh birthday (7th, 14th, 21st, own baby, which will equally be &c.), it will henceforward be able sure to die if she walk round a to perceive underground treasures newly made grave.
through its transparent finger-tips. If any one throw flower Wednesday children are Schlabsuddenly at the woman who ex- berkinder—that is, chatterboxes ; pects to become a mother, and Friday bairns are unfortunate; hits her with it on the face, her but in some districts Saturday child will have a mole at the same is yet more unfortunate, while in place touched by the flower. other places they are merely sup
Should the young matron im- posed to grow up dirty. prudently have neglected one of Whoever is born on a stormy these rules, and have cause to fear night will die of a violent death. that an evil spell has been cast The full moon or growing moon on her child, she has, however, is favourable, but the decreasing several very efficacious recipes for moon will produce weakly and unundoing the harm. Thus, if she healthy babes. sit on the doorstep with the feet All children born between Easter resting on a broom for five min- and Pentecost are more less utes at a time on seven consecu- lucky, unless they happen to have tive Fridays, thinking the while of come on one of the distinctly unher unborn babe, it will be re- lucky days, of which I here quote leased from the impending doom; the most important. These unor else let her sit there on Sun- lucky days are:days, when the bells are ringing, with her hair hanging unplaited January 1st, 2d, 6th, ith, 17th, and
18th. down her back; or else climb up
February 8th, 14th, and 17th. the belfry tower and look down at March ist, 3d, 13th, and 15th. sunset onto the landscape below.
April ist, 3d, 15th, 17th, 18th. When the moment of the birth May 8th, ioth, 17th, 30th. is approaching, the window must June ist, 17th. be carefully hung over with sheets July 1st, 5th, 6th, 14th. and cloths to prevent witches from
August ist, 3d, 17th, 18th. entering ; but all locks and bolts September 2d, 15th, 18th, 30th.
October 15th, 17th. should, on the contrary, be opened,
November ist, 7th, and ith. else the event will be retarded.
December ist, 6th, 11th, and 15th, If the new-born infant be weakly, it is usual to put yolks of eggs,
I leave it to more penetrating a glass of old wine, bran, or saw- spirits to decide whether these dust into its first bath.
seemingly capricious figures be Very important for the future regulated on some hidden system, luck and prosperity of the infant the mystic workings of which have is the day of the week and month baffled my understanding ; so that on which it happens to have been I am utterly at loss to explain born.
why January and April have the Sunday is of course the luckiest greatest number of unlucky days day, and 12 o'clock at noon, when assigned to them, while June and the bells are ringing, the most October have the smallest proporfavourable hour for entering upon tion; and why the ist and ith life. If a Sunday's child have its are hardly ever harmless, while