Russian family traditions
Russia is a country with long exciting history and old traditions. Russian people are really superstitious. Even now, in the era of computer technologies their way of thinking retain many mystical pagan beliefs. That is clearly reflected in the traditions and rites.
All life of Russian people is imbued with customs and superstitions. It seems that for any life situation they have a ready-made folk method of salvation. You can hardy find a mother in Russia who does not know how to treat her crying child if someone put the evil eye on him or her. Having investigated Russian folklore, we have prepared for you the most interesting traditions and beliefs.
Russian family planning traditions
In the old times, Russian families were really big. It was a kind of necessity because peasants had land and livestock that provided them with all necessary things. Cow, hens, geese, pigs, fruit garden, fields – that is a short list of a traditional household. All these needed working hands, that’s why many kids meant a wealthy life. A couple without kids was thought a flawed one.
Naturally, there appeared different “working” methods of getting pregnant. Many of them are still carefully kept up.
So, if you cannot get pregnant, try folk methods for conceiving a child. Some of them require a pregnant girlfriend.
- Try to drink from a cup that your pregnant girlfriend used.
- Sit on the couch, chair or arm-chair where she was sitting.
- Another effective and easy way is to ask to try on her clothes. That can be anything — a dress, pants or a shirt.
- Ask a pregnant friend to give you a toy doll as a present.
- When she sneezes on you, you’re more likely to get pregnant. This can be done any number of times.
- Another famous method is to touch her pregnant belly.
- There are even special beliefs in Russia, which are still kept by the brides. To avoid problems with the birth of children, be sure to invite a pregnant woman to the celebration of your wedding. A good sign is to hold someone else’s child on your lap during your own wedding.
Just like all other people, Russians were anxious to have a child of a certain sex. Here are a few recommendations:
- If a woman during marital intimacy puts on her head any male headdress, she will become pregnant with a boy. Also to give birth to a boy, in the old days during sexual intercourse women had to put pants or a hat of a husband under her head. But if a man ties a woman’s headscarf on his head, the child will be female.
- Old people suggest a woman who wants to get pregnant with a boy to eat more meat and fish items. To get pregnant with a boy, you should make love on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday because these days are traditionally considered man’s days.
- To give birth of a girl, a woman’s diet must include more fruits and sweets.
If a couple cannot get pregnant for a long time, there are also certain folk suggestions. A couple should buy any clothes items for infants and imagine how their future baby will look in them. It is thought that a future baby will see that a family is ready to meet him or her, so a baby will come. Often women notice that after such practice a child looks exactly as they imagined.
Such recommendations may seem funny to you, but Russian people take them seriously.
As you have seen, family means much for Russian people. They try to spend more time together and do things that can unite them. There are many interesting family traditions in Russia connected with Christmas celebrations.
Family Christmas traditions in Russia
On January 6th, at 12 am, the festal divine services start in the Orthodox churches. And on January 7th, people greet friends and relatives with this bright holiday. Unlike Europeans, who tend to celebrate Christmas with their families, and even close the doors, in Russia it is customary to keep the doors open, so that friends and neighbors who want to celebrate Christmas come to share the holiday joy.
Russians make a perfect order in their house before Christmas. Pies and special Christmas cakes are baked in advance. Christmas holiday is preceded by a long fast, the last day of which is called Christmas Eve. If anyone violated the main fest, on Christmas Eve even the most intemperate of gluttons start their meal only after the first star appears in the sky which is the symbol of the Bethlehem star.
If the sky is in clouds, then a family wait for the darkness and after a holy prayer sit down to the Christmas feast. But the “main” meal is not served at that time. On the Christmas Eve people eat “kutya” and fasting dishes.
- “Kutya” is a traditional dish made from wheat or barley, poppy, raisins, walnuts, honey, and dried fruit drink.
The main meal is served after the Holy Mess in the church on the 7th of January. There are 12 dishes on the Christmas table. Everyone has to try each dish, the main of which are also “kutya” and “uzvar”.
- “Uzvar” is a traditional non-alcoholic drink that is made from dried fruits and honey.
Christmas Eve is the first day of Christmastime celebrations that last until Epiphany Eve and are accompanied by festivities, visits to family and friends, masquerades. In the old days people used to go round carol-singing. It was a happy festive time for people who worked hard all year long.
Russians believe that Christmas is a mysterious time. That’s why they created various methods of fortunetelling. Girls were engaged in them, sometimes under the supervision of older women. Young girls were curious whether they marry or not next year, whether they will be poor or rich, healthy or sick.
The technology of fortunetelling was based on the universal belief that the observance of certain conditions will bring “signs” of Fate, which with the correct interpretation can open the veil of time and tell the future. “Signs” could be anything — dreams, random sounds and words, forms of melted wax poured into the water, animal behavior, the number and even-odd objects.
On the Christmas Eve young girls went out at night and listened to the sounds. Barking dog indicated from which side the bridegroom will arrive, the sound of an axe promised calamity and death, music was a sign of a quick wedding, the tramp of horse promised a long way etc.
To have a prophetic dream, the girl had to wash her face with water brought from nine wells, weave some grass into her braid, sweep the floor before going to bed in the direction from the threshold to the corner and run around the house totally naked.
Russian traditions are really interesting and logical in the eyes of Russian people, but they may seem weird or funny for foreigners. Of course, many old traditions are lost and forgotten, but many of they are still strictly followed. Come to Russia to experience some of them yourself!