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RE: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions--Weddings

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  • Jan Ammann
    Hello......I do remember part of what happened during the blessing for my sister and her future husband. It was for the parents to give permission for their
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 3, 2004
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      Hello......I do remember part of what happened during the blessing for my sister and her future husband. It was for the parents to give permission for their children to marry. My sister and her bridegroom kneeled on the floor in front of the priest. My parents stood behind my sister and and the priest asked if they give permission for this couple to wed. Of course, they said yes. Then they asked the same of the bridgrooms parents. Then there were some prayers.

      Of course, my future brother-in-law saw my sister in her wedding dress but I guess traditions were different back then.

      Aloysia

      Janet Kozlay <kozlay@...> wrote:
      I found a similar but not identical custom in a description of Ukrainian
      weddings, where the blessing was given by the couple's parents:

      �My two sisters and I were married in the Ukrainian tradition, in a
      Ukrainian Catholic church in Detroit. One of the most poignant traditions is
      the blessings of the parents. The young couple, before the marriage ceremony
      meet at the bride's home to receive a blessing from the parents. They kneel
      before both sets of parents and ask their blessing and permission to marry.
      After the permission is given, the couple's wrists are tied by the parents
      (one arm each) with an embroidered rushnyk. This is when most everyone
      begins to cry...."

      I found a similar description of parents' blessings in the morning in Polish
      weddings.

      A description of Slovak wedding traditions says that on the morning of the
      wedding the bride and groom each, in their own homes, ask forgiveness from
      their parents for any wrongs they may have done them and ask for their
      blessing. This also seems to have been the case in Rusyn weddings.

      I have found no such descriptions of morning blessings, either from a priest
      or from the parents, for Hungarian households.

      There are many wedding traditions that do seem to cross ethnic lines in
      Central European countries, probably the most important of which was the
      trading of the bride's wedding wreath for a married woman's head covering.

      Janet


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jan Ammann [mailto:janammann@...]
      Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 11:32 AM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions


      Hello Everyone.....I have read this post with great interest. And would
      like to ask a question about ethnic/religious traditions or customs. My
      background is Moravian, Austrian-Hungarian, and German. I am catholic and
      as a child when we went to church as a family, the men all sat on the right
      hand side and the women and children sat on the left hand side. This would
      be in the 1940's here in Texas. It then changed throughtout the years but I
      am not sure of the change date. Of course, my parents and my grandparents
      and aunts and uncles all spoke Moravian as did we children in those days.
      My grandmother would always say "Ti se Moravian" (no accent marks as they
      mess up the email sometimes) when someone would say we were czech or
      bohemian. She was very firm about this. To her, I suppose, being called
      something other than Moravian was not proper. We were all raised to be
      proud of our Moravian heritage. Of course, we all learned english also and
      by the time we went to school,
      moravian was ignored by all of us children and the older members of the
      family only spoke in moravian to each other. We even prayed in Moravian in
      our country church. We actually switched between latin and Moravian. The
      Our Father and Hail Mary was always in Moravian.

      This also was a country parish which was rather small. I can still remember
      the church with its white beadboard walls.......its beautiful gothic shaped
      stained windows which opened to the outside (no AC in those days).
      Sometimes, birds flew across the altar and we even saw mice scattering
      across the wooden floor at times. The statues were magnificent and they are
      the very same ones that are in the catholic church (polish community) where
      I attend today.

      We had lent.........we had ember days.........so much that is no longer. Of
      course, Lent is still in the church but the ember days are gone. The mass
      was in latin as were our prayer books. Also,,,,,when my older sister was
      married (early 1950's) the priest came to the house in the early morning.
      My mother draped a white sheet on the walls in one corner of our small
      living room and my sister, in her wedding dress, and her husband to be,
      kneeled there, surrounded by the parents, the priest in the corner facing
      them. He gave a blessing to the couple and to the parents. Then, he went
      back to the church where we all followed later on. I am supposing that this
      also came over from the old country. I have never seen this blessing
      enacted since that day. It, too, has disappeared.

      So, this post brought back a lot of memories for me. But I do hope someone
      can comment on the way we sat in the church. I am wondering if this custom
      did not come over from the old homeland when my family arrived here in the
      USA. Perhaps the blessing also did.

      Many thanks to all you members who make this list so interesting.

      Cheers, Aloysia

      Vladimir Bohinc <konekta@...> wrote:
      Dear Bill,
      here http://www.cgsi.org/
      I thought, everybody knows that :-)
      Join!
      Best regards,
      Vladimir
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Bill Tarkulich
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 12:45 PM
      Subject: RE: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions


      Hi Vladimir,
      How and where can we go about obtaining the publications of " Nase
      Rodina"?
      It sounds like a good read.
      Regards,
      Bill


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Vladimir Bohinc [mailto:konekta@...]
      Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 2:44 AM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions



      Dear Janet,
      I agree with everything, since these are more or less all facts. This is
      what one could count into Slavic culture. Since were are all Slavs, we
      have
      many things in common. Slavs in different cuntries ( in Europe)were
      naturally under influence of their master nations or neighbors, so you can
      find this in variations too. Villages or areas, which were awau from trade
      lines, were less exposed to such influences and kept their old customs
      longer. Many of the customs go far back into the pagan era, where there
      was
      no Christianity. Every village was and to a large extent still is a closed
      community, often with it's own, unwritten rules. A foreigner, or anyone
      "different' will have a hard time in it, unless he adopts and subdues. The
      most feared weapon is gossip. It can kill people softly, or drive them
      mad.
      Another weapon is envy.It destroys much of good or new. The book Bill is
      refering to I bought already a year or two ago. It describes wery much ,
      but
      I am not very happy with the language. It is too dry, without any spirit
      or
      soul. It is evident, that it was written by people, who were educated in
      the
      past communist regime, where a person was only a statistical item. The
      writers do not care much about the reader. I would have writte it
      differently. I will touch this subject later in my article for Nase
      Rodina.
      Regards, Vladimir


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Janet Kozlay
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 4:07 AM
      Subject: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions


      Bill, I would like to thank you for posting your excerpts from "Slovak
      Family Traditions," which I recall having read from a previous post of
      yours, as well as the remarkable Grisak autobiography.

      My own research in this area has led me to conclude that there was a
      fairly
      common culture among the peasants throughout Central Europe regardless
      of
      their particular ethnicity or language. Nearly everything in your
      excerpts
      and in the Grisak work is described in F�l and Hofer's "Proper
      Peasants,"
      though they go into much greater detail and in the case of the excerpts
      are
      far more readable. Their book, based on an intensive study of a single
      village on the Hungarian Plain, is widely available and fairly
      inexpensive.
      Descriptions I have read of the culture of Germans who migrated to
      Hungary
      also do not appear to differ materially. I suspect the same is true of
      the
      peasant culture of surrounding regions. One would expect some
      variations
      from area to area, and even village to village, but in my view the
      commonality of the customs and traditions is far more striking. Just
      one
      example is the custom of men sleeping in the stables, while the women
      and
      children slept in the house. Others include the courtship rituals of
      young
      men, the violence that often occurred when a young man courted a girl
      out
      of
      his community, the tradition of young men drinking and dancing till the
      wee
      hours until they married and settled down, and the pathetic position of
      daughters-in-law in a household.

      I am looking forward to Vladimir's contributions and would be very
      interested in learning if he agrees.

      Janet





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    • Jan Ammann
      Hello Mr. Brna........Thank you for remembering what I remember. And, like you, I don t remember exactly when it changed. Yes, we were always dressed up.
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 3, 2004
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        Hello Mr. Brna........Thank you for remembering what I remember. And, like you, I don't remember exactly when it changed. Yes, we were always dressed up. Daddy in a suit with all the accessories and a hat. My mother and my two sisters were equally done up in fou-fou-frilly type dresses with hats and gloves. Yes, gloves. The hats were usually the "bowler" type for us children with a ribbon hanging down the back part of the hat and touching our shoulders. Mother, however, had a more sedate hat....usually that sat on the top of her head and sometimes they came down on the sides. They were made of straw or velvet or some other fancy fabric........however, they all had a net that could be pulled down over the face.

        Yes, it was a fine tradition. And sometimes I wish we could ressurect it, at least for one Sunday. Our shoes were called Baby Janes with a strap across the top and we had one in black patent leather and one in white patent leather. We shined them with vaseline. I smile when I think of it now. My mother used to braid my hair so tight that I believe that is why I have big eyes. I looked perpetually startled. And if I dared to whimper as she braided she would just pull those braids tighter. Sometimes, we even polished our nails with polish. Nothing bright or glaring........a soft rose or pink. However, because my sister was the oldest, she always got away with fire engine red nails and toes.

        On Saturday night, mother would line up three enamel bowls of water on a bench either on the back porch (summertime) or in the kitchen when it was winter. The first bowl was where we leaned over and washed our hair. The second bowl was water to rinse the soap off. And the third bowl was also water to rinse but with a touch of vinegar added. I think that probably stripped off the last of the soap suds and our hair literally squeaked. Sometimes all three of us used the same bowls of water.

        And when bathing (in a #3 washtub) we also sometimes bathed after each other. Water had to be pumped and carried to the house and heated on the kerosene stove so we had to make do. We also did everything in birth order. My elder sister went first, then me, and finally, our baby sister. I often laugh and tease her because she has an olive skin whereas my older sister and I have a fair skin. I tell her it was because she had to end up using "the somewhat dirty water" and that is why she has the darker skin. Also, the darkest hair.

        I am sure this must sound strange to someone reading this who did not grow up in this type of environment but it was a wonderful way of life. The forties were war years and it was hard to make a living as farmers which our family was. As I grow older, I think of it more often and some of these lists do bring these memories back.

        I ask forgiveness of list members who may not consider this proper on a genealogy list, however, it was a family custom......how we lived.......what we did........and, of course, family is genealogy. So the circle becomes complete.

        Thank you for giving me this chance to reminisce.

        Aloysia

        William F Brna <wfbrna@...> wrote:
        I well remember the days when the men and women sat on opposite sides of
        the church. The women (and children) sat on the left, facing the Blessed
        Virgin's statue , and the men sat on the right, facing St. Joseph's
        statue. This was the custom, not only in the Slovak parish, but in the
        "Irish" parish where our family attended mass, when it was not convenient
        to travel to the Slovak parish (a seven mile trip). I also remember that
        everyone, men and women, dressed in their "Sunday best" when they went to
        mass. Not only did the men wear a suit, white shirt and tie, but they
        also wore hats. I don't know when the custom of sitting on opposite
        sides of the church was abandoned, but, as I recall, it was a gradual
        change.

        Bill Brna

        On Sun, 3 Oct 2004 09:32:18 -0700 (PDT) Jan Ammann
        <janammann@...> writes:
        >
        > Hello Everyone.....I have read this post with great interest. And
        > would like to ask a question about ethnic/religious traditions or
        > customs. My background is Moravian, Austrian-Hungarian, and German.
        > I am catholic and as a child when we went to church as a family,
        > the men all sat on the right hand side and the women and children
        > sat on the left hand side. This would be in the 1940's here in
        > Texas. It then changed throughtout the years but I am not sure of
        > the change date. Of course, my parents and my grandparents and aunts
        > and uncles all spoke Moravian as did we children in those days. My
        > grandmother would always say "Ti se Moravian" (no accent marks as
        > they mess up the email sometimes) when someone would say we were
        > czech or bohemian. She was very firm about this. To her, I suppose,
        > being called something other than Moravian was not proper. We were
        > all raised to be proud of our Moravian heritage. Of course, we all
        > learned english also and by the time we went to school,
        > moravian was ignored by all of us children and the older members of
        > the family only spoke in moravian to each other. We even prayed in
        > Moravian in our country church. We actually switched between latin
        > and Moravian. The Our Father and Hail Mary was always in Moravian.
        >
        > This also was a country parish which was rather small. I can still
        > remember the church with its white beadboard walls.......its
        > beautiful gothic shaped stained windows which opened to the outside
        > (no AC in those days). Sometimes, birds flew across the altar and
        > we even saw mice scattering across the wooden floor at times. The
        > statues were magnificent and they are the very same ones that are in
        > the catholic church (polish community) where I attend today.
        >
        > We had lent.........we had ember days.........so much that is no
        > longer. Of course, Lent is still in the church but the ember days
        > are gone. The mass was in latin as were our prayer books.
        > Also,,,,,when my older sister was married (early 1950's) the priest
        > came to the house in the early morning. My mother draped a white
        > sheet on the walls in one corner of our small living room and my
        > sister, in her wedding dress, and her husband to be, kneeled there,
        > surrounded by the parents, the priest in the corner facing them. He
        > gave a blessing to the couple and to the parents. Then, he went
        > back to the church where we all followed later on. I am supposing
        > that this also came over from the old country. I have never seen
        > this blessing enacted since that day. It, too, has disappeared.
        >
        > So, this post brought back a lot of memories for me. But I do hope
        > someone can comment on the way we sat in the church. I am wondering
        > if this custom did not come over from the old homeland when my
        > family arrived here in the USA. Perhaps the blessing also did.
        >
        > Many thanks to all you members who make this list so interesting.
        >
        > Cheers, Aloysia
        >
        > Vladimir Bohinc <konekta@...> wrote:
        > Dear Bill,
        > here http://www.cgsi.org/
        > I thought, everybody knows that :-)
        > Join!
        > Best regards,
        > Vladimir
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Bill Tarkulich
        > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 12:45 PM
        > Subject: RE: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions
        >
        >
        > Hi Vladimir,
        > How and where can we go about obtaining the publications of " Nase
        > Rodina"?
        > It sounds like a good read.
        > Regards,
        > Bill
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Vladimir Bohinc [mailto:konekta@...]
        > Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 2:44 AM
        > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions
        >
        >
        >
        > Dear Janet,
        > I agree with everything, since these are more or less all facts.
        > This is
        > what one could count into Slavic culture. Since were are all
        > Slavs, we have
        > many things in common. Slavs in different cuntries ( in
        > Europe)were
        > naturally under influence of their master nations or neighbors, so
        > you can
        > find this in variations too. Villages or areas, which were awau
        > from trade
        > lines, were less exposed to such influences and kept their old
        > customs
        > longer. Many of the customs go far back into the pagan era, where
        > there was
        > no Christianity. Every village was and to a large extent still is
        > a closed
        > community, often with it's own, unwritten rules. A foreigner, or
        > anyone
        > "different' will have a hard time in it, unless he adopts and
        > subdues. The
        > most feared weapon is gossip. It can kill people softly, or drive
        > them mad.
        > Another weapon is envy.It destroys much of good or new. The book
        > Bill is
        > refering to I bought already a year or two ago. It describes wery
        > much , but
        > I am not very happy with the language. It is too dry, without any
        > spirit or
        > soul. It is evident, that it was written by people, who were
        > educated in the
        > past communist regime, where a person was only a statistical item.
        > The
        > writers do not care much about the reader. I would have writte it
        > differently. I will touch this subject later in my article for
        > Nase Rodina.
        > Regards, Vladimir
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Janet Kozlay
        > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 4:07 AM
        > Subject: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions
        >
        >
        > Bill, I would like to thank you for posting your excerpts from
        > "Slovak
        > Family Traditions," which I recall having read from a previous
        > post of
        > yours, as well as the remarkable Grisak autobiography.
        >
        > My own research in this area has led me to conclude that there
        > was a
        > fairly
        > common culture among the peasants throughout Central Europe
        > regardless of
        > their particular ethnicity or language. Nearly everything in
        > your
        > excerpts
        > and in the Grisak work is described in F�l and Hofer's "Proper
        > Peasants,"
        > though they go into much greater detail and in the case of the
        > excerpts
        > are
        > far more readable. Their book, based on an intensive study of a
        > single
        > village on the Hungarian Plain, is widely available and fairly
        > inexpensive.
        > Descriptions I have read of the culture of Germans who migrated
        > to Hungary
        > also do not appear to differ materially. I suspect the same is
        > true of
        > the
        > peasant culture of surrounding regions. One would expect some
        > variations
        > from area to area, and even village to village, but in my view
        > the
        > commonality of the customs and traditions is far more striking.
        > Just one
        > example is the custom of men sleeping in the stables, while the
        > women and
        > children slept in the house. Others include the courtship
        > rituals of
        > young
        > men, the violence that often occurred when a young man courted a
        > girl out
        > of
        > his community, the tradition of young men drinking and dancing
        > till the
        > wee
        > hours until they married and settled down, and the pathetic
        > position of
        > daughters-in-law in a household.
        >
        > I am looking forward to Vladimir's contributions and would be
        > very
        > interested in learning if he agrees.
        >
        > Janet
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
        > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank
        > email to
        > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
        > ADVERTISEMENT
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        >
        > __________ Informacia od NOD32 1.848 (20040820) __________
        >
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        >
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      • nhasior@aol.com
        Aloysia, Thank you for your story. I do not think it was inappropriate for this list. i enjoyed it and am passing it on to my aunt and daughter. I remember
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 4, 2004
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          Aloysia,
          Thank you for your story. I do not think it was inappropriate for this list.
          i enjoyed it and am passing it on to my aunt and daughter. I remember one
          of my aunts, born in 1904, telling me that when she got all dressed up to go
          out dancing, they were so poor that she used a tiny bit of shoe polish for
          curling her eyelashes. i never forgot that.
          Noreen


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • bill tarkulich
          Regarding the segregation of men and women, I can speak only for the East of Slovakia, but I m fairly confident the following applies generally. For the most
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 4, 2004
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            Regarding the segregation of men and women, I can speak only for the
            East of Slovakia, but I'm fairly confident the following applies generally.

            For the most part, 100 years ago in small villages, men and women
            separately socialized ("Slovak Family Traditions"). I observed this
            social segregation continued in America as well. They were hardly ever
            seen together as a "couple", as we do today. This extended to the
            church. If you look at the architecture of Greek Catholic churches
            before 1945, it consisted of three spaces: the Sacristry/altar, Nave and
            Babinec. The nave was located centrally and was where the men sat. The
            "Babinec" or "babynets" was also called the "women's room", located
            farthest from the altar.

            I suspect that this tradition was modified in America since most
            churches consisted of principally two sections, the nave (for the
            congregants) and the altar (for the sacrament.) The "babinec" was
            generally relegated to the role of a vestibule in America. Since room
            separation wasn't logistically possible, dividing into two sections was
            the next best thing.

            As an aside, the congregants, except for the infirm generally stood
            throughout the entire service, which could be as long as 3 hours.

            If you attend an *Orthodox* service today (I married a Greek *Orthodox*
            {not to be confused with Greek Catholic} and attend this church), you
            will find the majority of people still "dress up." Men wear
            conservative suits and women wear modest dresses.

            Bill
          • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
            I was in Poland in 1980 in a small village church where the sexes were still segregated: the women were on the left, men on the right. Luckily when I came in
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 4, 2004
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              I was in Poland in 1980 in a small village church where the sexes were
              still segregated: the women were on the left, men on the right.
              Luckily when I came in I picked up on it and sat on the right side!

              Joe
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