Table of contents:
- Tar, rods and whips to the hooting of rejected suitors
- The peasantry: the bride's nightgown, attempts to hide the sin and loyalty to the problem
- Nobility and merchants: which is more important, calculation or sin and punishment by exile
- Priests: do not sin, lest you bring your husband under the monastery
In ancient times, Orthodoxy demanded virginity from the bride. The girl was supposed to be innocent before marriage, and when she got married, she was obliged to remain faithful to her husband. But still, situations arose when the bride could not boast of her purity. For such an offense, she was severely punished in villages and cities, and both the woman herself and her parents were responsible. The requirements for men were less stringent, and the culprit was not punished. Read how the spoiled bride was "brought up", how she was dishonored, and what was the difference between the idea of sin among the peasants and the upper class.
Tar, rods and whips to the hooting of rejected suitors
The girl who could not preserve her honor could be punished very severely: the gates of her yard and the shutters of the house were smeared with tar or sewage, tore and stained linen with dirt, the unfortunate woman herself was taken in one shirt through the village streets. The physical methods were sometimes very brutal. For example, a girl had to drag a cart together with a horse, while she was mercilessly beaten with a whip. Or they were forced to kneel down and crawl to the table at which the husband's relatives were sitting in order to tearfully ask for forgiveness. At the same time, the husband's relatives slapped the guilty person in the face until the husband stopped the action.
Very often, the organizers of the process stopped the guys abandoned by the girl, the rejected grooms or the friend's swelling with envy. Not only the bride was punished, but also her relatives. For example, there have been cases when, by a court decision, the bride's father was flogged with rods. The mother also got it - she could be harnessed to a harrow and in this form chased throughout the village. If an illegitimate child was born, according to church rules, the headman had to conduct a thorough investigation. After that, the woman had to crawl on her knees around the temple, and this had to be done at least three times. In some provinces, the spoiled bride was crowned only after a cleansing prayer. But it was much less painful than the flogging with the rods.
The peasantry: the bride's nightgown, attempts to hide the sin and loyalty to the problem
So, a woman could be punished both for the loss of her virginity and for unfaithfulness to the marriage. However, the so-called "spoiled bride" was forgiven for sin in many cases, which cannot be said about betrayal. For example, the barchuk often seduced young peasant women, and they got away with it. We can assume that the material well-being that the girl could receive after such an event served as a kind of absolution. But licentiousness has always been condemned and punished.
To be sure that the bride was a virgin, it had to be checked, which was done in different ways. Before the wedding, the girl could be taken into the "chamber" and strictly to extort the whole truth from her. If she confessed, she is shamed. A small nuance: if the bride confessed her fall before she was taken into the chamber, she was forgiven. To demonstrate innocence, they took out the girl's nightgown and showed it to the guests, or the newly-made husband beat the dishes, making it clear that everything was fine and the bride was innocent. Sometimes husbands hid the sins of their brides. In fact, what's the point of shame and punishment, because the wife already exists.
Interestingly, the most sparing attitude to the loss of virginity before marriage was in distant settlements. For example, in the Tver province, no punishment for girls was supposed. In general, near Perm, the peasants took it lightly. There was a saying near Kazan that “they take a wife from the start”. On the contrary, some girls with a child who lived in the Menzensky district were much more likely to get married than others. In the north, there were no shameful rituals, but virginity was treated as a great value.
Nobility and merchants: which is more important, calculation or sin and punishment by exile
Quite often, the peasants did not pay attention to the virginity of the bride, and the main thing was the absence of bad habits, the efficiency, health and attitude of the groom. Among the merchants, there was a practice of marrying a girl in order to hide her sin. The rich dowry, which was given for the girl, was intended to buy the silence of the groom and his relatives. But among the nobles, the bride who lost her virginity became a real disaster. The daughters were supposed to be strictly monitored, they did not talk to them on intimate topics, they selected novels in which this issue was raised. They were not supposed to be alone with the man, of course, if he was not the bridegroom. In other words, the young noblewomen were strictly controlled. There was even such a rule: to generously thank the girl's parents after the wedding, if the bride was innocent.
Of course, troubles also happened in noble families. A girl who lost her innocence was immediately deprived of her parental blessing. She could be sent to a remote estate, to a village and married there to any man. Even if he was not a nobleman. It's funny, but after the noblewoman got married, her behavior almost ceased to be paid attention to.
Priests: do not sin, lest you bring your husband under the monastery
The clergy had the strictest rules. The innocence of the bride of the future clergyman was of great importance for her husband, otherwise the seminary graduate seemed to be smeared in indelible dirt, the girl and her husband were awaiting monasticism. Or the priest could be defrocked. This was due to the fact that marriage was a symbol of a strong union between Christ and the Church, and a clear parallel was drawn between the innocence of the bride and the purity of the church on the eve of the second coming.
The priest's bride was required to be clean not only in the physical sense, but also in the moral - loyal love for God, obedience and reverence for her husband, only good thoughts were required. After marriage, she became an example of morality for those around her. To cheat on her husband meant to defile him, because the priest in this case either went to the monastery, or he had to stay in the world. It was impossible for such a man to make a career as a clergyman.
Well, at the wedding itself, the veil was very important. She symbolized just that, and therefore there was such a reverent attitude towards her.