Let's not forget about important details such as wedding Korovai! If you start exploring wedding traditions of different nations, you will find out that every nation has a tradition of having some kind of special bread for the wedding. Ukrainians, who are known to possess the planet's most fertile soils and bountiful wheat crops, aren't the only ones to honor such bread traditions. This special bread has different names in different countries. Ukrainian wedding bread bares the proud name - Korovai.
Let's talk about the history of Korovai.
Wedding bread "Korovai" is not just any bread served at the wedding table. It looks like a big cake, which may have from 1 to 5 tiers, decorated with unleavened dough, marshmello or whipped eggwhite (meringue). This bread accompanies the prospective couple from the very beginning of their wedding day and is shared among the guests at the end of the party. Let's say, that it is something like american tradition of wedding cake, but Ukrainian Korovai has much more purpose than for providing a tasty treat.
The preparing of Korovai is one of the most common wedding rituals amongst Ukrainians, which symbolizes the blessing the community gives to the wedding couple. In different regions of Ukraine, this ritual may slightly differ. The main wedding bread has been designed according to a certain theme/scenery. The process of making Korovai should have been started on the Friday or Saturday before the wedding day at the bride's or groom's house. Members of both families should participate in the ritual as a symbol of families connecting.
In Ukraine, it is common to have women who are married making Korovai. The nesessary condition is - women should be in their first marriage and have happy family life. Participation of widows is frowned upon(dissallowed). There is a superstition that women who make the wedding bread, will give a piece of their fate to the prospective couple.
The baking of Korovai is accompanied by various ritualistic actions. For example, women who would be making the dough would be bound with a special embroidered towel and their hands would be washed with holy water. The process of making dough should flow with a good mood of bakers. When the dough is ready, one of the women would make the sign of the cross on top of the oven showel, on the oven, and on the bread itself. Only after silent prayer would the Korovai enter the hot oven with the utmost care.
The family anticipates that the bread will come out nice and baked even - without any cracks on top and on the sides. There is a common belief among Ukrainian people that twisted bread is a sign of bad luck for the prospective couple, and the cracked bread signifies divorce. Women, who are baking wedding bread believe, that to prevent unwanted results they should work with the bread in a cheerful and happy mood - fast and proffesional without any hesitations.
The Korovai is present at all wedding events from the beginning to the end. When the loving couple goes to the church to obtain the blessing of God for their future life, the Korovai is taken with them. During the entire ceremony it takes its respectful place close to the altar. After the church service, Korovai is taken to the place where the couple will celebrate their marriage; to the reception where it is placed in a highly visible location. At the end of the celebration, Korovai is divided among all guests. The closest relatives of the bride, married men, would have a respectful role of cutting it and offering it to guests.
Here is a video that provides a thorough explanation of the process of passing the Korovai to guests, understand that it is a most sacred, traditional experience. So, watch and enjoy.