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Heritage Sites:"Vyaselny Karavaj" ("Wedding Loaf") Rite

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No traditional Polessye wedding is complete without a ‘karavaj’ (round loaf or wedding loaf). Karavaj are a part of various rites and traditions but their role in wedding ceremonies, especially in the village of Motol (Ivanovo region, Brest oblast) is well developed and highly significant. Preparation of a ‘Vyaselny karavaj’ is a sacred ritual designed to support successful family life for newlyweds. The preparation of the karavaj is entrusted to ‘Karavajnitsy’ – honorable village women who are experienced and successful in family life. They gather before the wedding to prepare the dough for the Karavaj - a ceremony in itself with singing. According to the rite, two karavaj are prepared for the bride and groom. Usually they are decorated to symbolize the anticipated unity of the two families. For further decoration, ‘shishki’ are prepared – long branches from a fruit tree (usually apple or peach) which divide in two or three more branches. Each shishki is decorated with dough and later with flowers and green branches of particular plants. The shishki are put on each loaf and attached with a special red thread or ribbon. During the wedding the representatives from bride’s and groom’s families carry their karavaj - the higher the better. It is believed that whichever side’s karavaj is held higher that person would rule in the family. Vyaselny karavaj are divided and given to guests only after the wedding ceremony and usually they present gifts to the newlyweds in return. Each part of the rite is followed by traditional songs. Today the rite is nurtured in the south of Belarus in Polessye. The village of Motol is well-known for an outstanding wedding loaf ceremony. One can learn about the rite at local museum in Motol that has a separate traditional house to perform the rite. Karavaj.jpg

About the Heritage Site

  • Country: Belarus
  • Location: Motol village, Ivanovo region, Brest oblast.
  • Experience offered:
  • Good to know:
  • Motol

Accessibility of Heritage Site

  • Opening times:
  • Entrance fee:
  • How to get there
  • Postal Adress: Motal village, Ivanava district, Brest region 225822
phone: +375 17 1955545