Gerel Shakeeva, About Kalmyk Weddings

Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 

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Gerel talks about her own engagement and wedding. She had her engagement in November and her wedding was a month and a half later. According to Kalmyk tradition, during the engagement the groom’s side brings a cooked sheep’s head to the bride’s parents. During Gerel’s engagement the representatives of her betrothed brought a live sheep with them, which was perceived as an insult by Gerel’s family, because this meant that the sheep’s blood would be spelt on this occasion. Gerel’s family asked the guests about who among them could kill the sheep. Since there was no one able to do so, Gerel’s older brother had to kill the sheep. On the wedding day, the groom’s delegation arrived at Gerel’s paternal house and walked around it three times before entering the house. The delegation brought a live sheep with a red ribbon. Gerel was waiting for the groom’s people in her room. The first person who touched Gerel’s shoulder was one of the brides from the groom’s family, which is Kalmyk tradition. Then the head of the groom’s delegation entered the room. A white cloth was put on Gerel’s head so that she could not see her way back to her paternal home when taken away. Afterwards the groom’s delegation again walked around the house three times. Gerel was seen off with songs sung by old women. Upon entering her husband’s house, Gerel kneeled on a matrass and prayed, while the oldest bride from her husband’s family was holding Gerel’s head down. Gerel’s parents came to visit their daughter on the same day.

Wedding, rituals
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