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Forgotten Russian Traditions
January 20, 2019 11:02


For the Russian people, the historical heritage is very significant. The traditions of the Russians have been evolving over the centuries. For ages, the Russian folk traditions and customs have been observed both among the villagers and the townspeople. However, some of them have been mostly forgotten.
Drinking Ivan-Tea instead of Ceylon Tea
Ivan-Tea, or the Great Willow Herb, to name it scientifically, is an amazing but undeservedly forgotten herb. This drink was widely used in Russia as a powerful energy booster.
A samovar with Ivan-Tea always stood on the dinner table and was like a life blood for the strength to do hard physical work for a whole day long. In times of famine, Ivan-Tea could sustain the peasants.
 

Giving Birth at Home instead of Maternity Hospitals
In Old Russia, women preferred to give birth to babies at home, and even better - in the warmth of a steam bath-house (banya) and away from prying eyes. According to popular folk beliefs, to facilitate childbirth, the woman in labor should be unbelted, have her braids untied, and jewelry taken off. All the chests, cabinets, windows and doors in the house had to be opened. The midwife helped the mothers in labor, and they did this not during the delivery process only, but also managed the household for 8 days after.
 

Celebrating Namedays and not Birthdays
Nameday celebration was one of the cultural traditions of Old Russia. However, in the 1920s-1930s, the celebration of the Nameday (a saint’s day) was announced by the Communist power to be an obsolete religious custom and even subject to official persecution. So eventually people began to prefer birthday celebrations, and not their saints’ days. Thus the nature of the holiday was changed, with the emphasis on the physical and not spiritual birth. In Old Russia, the Nameday was celebrated with a morning prayer, followed with tea drinking parties.

Banya as a Significant Ritual
Every important event in the family used to be accompanied with going to the steam bath house. For example, when a young man decided to marry, his mother would arrange a bath day and invite the future daughter-in-law to participate. That is how a caring mother could estimate the girl's health, character and endurance, as the mother of the future generation was welcomed to the family.

Another forgotten banya tradition was steaming and hitting oneself with twigs in the hay. Nowadays that has been substituted with using aromatherapy in the steam bath. But how can anything replace the smell of freshly mowed grass and real essential oils of meadow grasses?
Read about traditional Russian banya (steam bath) 
Drinking Bread Wine instead of Vodka
Russian bread wine (polugar) is a strong alcoholic drink, which was used by our ancestors before the invention of vodka. It was made by distilling the grain home brew. That wine is called bread wine because it needs cereals for its preparation: rye, barley, wheat, buckwheat, etc.
By the way, according to the production technology, bread wine is no different from whiskey. However, connoisseurs say that it tastes much better. 

 




Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Customs Russian Traditions Russian Banya   

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