The Wedding in the Village of Kulm, Bessarabia

By Th. Weiss, E. Widmer, A. Kugele, J. Roloff and D. Wöelfle

NDUS Libraries, Heimatbuch der Gemeinde Kulm, English translation by Rev. Allen E. Konrad

Germans from Russia DK651.K827 H44

When two young people desired to join in holy marriage: Three weeks before their wedding, the engaged couple would travel by carriage to the parsonage in Tarutino (since Kulm at that time did not have a resident pastor). The pastor reviewed the young couple through a stiff examination of their Knowledge of the Catechism to verify their Christian beliefs. This was also the opportunity to identify whether the were truly single. If they were not, they had to pay a fine into the church treasury. For hiding a pregnancy, the fine was doubled.

A prospective bride, not truly single was not permitted the priviledge of the purety symbols of a flower crown (Kranz) and veil. Public notice (banns) were lawfully proclaimed in church on the following three Sundays.

On the evening after the pastoral examination of the engaged couple, the groom gave a family celebration in the presence of the parents.

In later years (from October, 1939 to October, 1940), because Kulm had their own resident pastor, these formalities were performed in Kulm village.

During that three week period before the wedding, planning arrangements were made with details discussed as to when and where the wedding should take place. Normally, the elders soon agreed for the celebration to occur at the place with the most space. Usually the weddings were held in the parental homes of the bridal couple. (Klum had no hotel accommodations). Before World War I, celebrations were exstended to two days, but after World War I under Romanian rule, only one day.

The first duty for the engaged couple was to select the wedding attendants (Köppelsmann, hosts), one from the bride's family and one from the grom's family. The hosting attendants must invite all guests with a prepared speech; however, more recently printed wedding invitations are used.

Each hosting attendant received a cane from the engaged couple, adorned with a crown flower and individually tied ribbons. The bridesmaid would tie additional ribbions to the cane/wand.

The verbal invitation of wedding invite recited as this:

* Now that we appear before you, good friends take note!

Respond to what we present to you from our heart.
For we were sent by the father of the wedding,
to invite their guests for some schnapps, wine, and good
roast meat.

* These things rest on us, good fortune within and without.
Are you master or mistress, inside or out?
Are they outside, so we call on you to come on in,
great and small, sons and daughters assemble,
so that you will all be together through my invitation.

* Esteemed Sirs and good friends,
we wish you a good wedding day!
Don't take offence, since we enter so boldly,
for we have been sent forth by the bride and groom,
that is, by the esteemed and virtuous bachelor (his name)
and his beloved young bride (her name).

* They have both by God's providence
consented to enter into a Christian marriage,
and now desire, to schedule this event to be held
(date of wedding).

* Since it is impossible without good friends and
acquaintances to bring this celebration to fulfillment,
and especially without you,
so the bride and groom are requesting your presence
and our calling is most sincere too.

* The master requests that you offer a prayer of faith
unto the Lord, Our Father, for the marriage, union and all,
and after the marriage pledge is a reality,
the master wishes you a safe return to the home of (name)
for a grand meal, a little time for dancing, to rejoice in a quick gulp.

* Let us taste the grand meal, but not only on Thursday and Friday,
but all next week, and only as long as the food holds out.

* We are still young in years, and lack much experience,
so don't despise the bride and groom and present yourselves on (wedding day)
when the wedding will be held.

This is added for those who provide a carriage drivers:

* There's one reminder I would like to bring
to the head of the house,
I would rather sing this to him.

* I would rather say to him:
He should prepare himself with a horse and wagon.
Girls wearing ribbon streamers,
horses crowned with garlands.
The wagons decorated,
the drivers greased.

* Oh no, that's not what I wanted to say:
Girls crowned with garlands,
horses with ribbon streamers,
wagons greased,
the driver decorated.

* There can be no "if"s, "and"s, or "but"s about this,
the engaged couple desire to ride.

* Yet another little speech:
That's why we came, that's why we are here,
Everyone is supposed to come to the wedding,
so everyone accept and respoond, OK!

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller