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Hanseatic wedding with medieval elements held during the Tartu Hanseatic Days
Hanseatic Wedding with medieval elements will be one of the spectacular events held during the Tartu Hanseatic Days (16-17 July in Estonia, Tartu). Two young people, Merit and Marko Oviir, both born in Tartu, will be joined in holy matrimony. Merit and Marko live currently in USA in Seattle where they exchanged their rings a year ago.

Hanseatic Wedding will take place on Saturday, 17 July at 6pm on Town Hall Square. The bridal couple will be blessed by the mayor of Tartu Urmas Kruuse and after the “I do”-s and exchanging the vows and the rings all the quests of the Hanseatic Wedding will be asked to join the grand photo shoot.

All who wish are welcome to come and congratulate the bridal couple in person.

After the ceremony the bridal couple will invite everyone for community dancing. The bride will also call all the unmarried women whose partner is currently also at Tartu Hanseatic Days to take part of catching the flower bouquet. The girl who catches the bouquet will be the new bride of the evening and she will sit with her partner at the top of the wedding table which is set up especially for this day.

“Getting married during the Tartu Hanseatic Days will give the wedding couple a chance to express their love and commitment to each other in front of their home town’s people,” describes Anti Einpaul the ceremony. Einpaul, who will step up as a master of ceremony, says the traditions used in current weddings in Estonia are mainly quite old so the relatives, friends and the citizens will be a part of the event that has been celebrated mostly in the same way for centuries.

The purpose of the Hanseatic Wedding is to introduce current and ancient wedding traditions and to find out, where the traditions used in current weddings in Estonia have started.

Traditions used in Hanseatic Wedding

Festive music – supports the festive atmosphere.

Dress and the veil – the white color symbolizes the innocence and purity of the bride. Although the white dress became popular in the end of the 18th century when the queen of England Victoria got married, the bride who is dressed in the white dress and white veil is considered to be classical.

The brides in the Ancient Rome used veils to defend themselves from demons with horns. Veil was supposed to keep the bride safe and anonymous so she could be pure and innocent for her husband.

Women in the Ancient Creek wore yellow ankle-length veil. In the Ancient Rome the veil was red. Veils were mainly decorated with gold and silver.

The first woman to wear the white veil was the wife of  Napoleon III giving an example to the other brides. The veil that was worn only once in a lifetime symbolized the health and purity.

In the ancient times the veil was meant for protection for ghosts and other flying creatures, but in the times of arranged marriages it gained other meanings – the groom wasn’t supposed to see the bride before the “I do”-s to avoid him to rethink the decision.

No one thinks about running from the altar or dangerous demons nowadays; it isn’t important for the bride to be innocent – many of the couples already have children when they get married. The veil is used as a decoration nowadays.

Bouquet of flowers – in the ancient times it was more meaningful symbol than we think today.

In the times of Queen Victoria the flowers and their color carried secret messages and became inseparable part of wedding ceremonies. Red roses symbolized deep love, white flowers purity and innocence, light colors sincerity and trust. Bouquet made of flowers could carry a very deep message.

Traditionally the groom ordered the bouquet and it was a wedding day gift to the bride.

Rings and the exchange of them – On of the oldest symbols indicating that a woman and a man belong together is probably the ring. The tradition of the ring started 4800 years ago in Egypt where a ring in the finger of a young girl showed that she is no longer available. Initially rings made of iron were used.

Ring as a pledge of love was first mentioned by a writer in Rome, Plautus in his “Miles Gloriosus” where a beautiful lady sent a ring to a handsome solder as a symbol of love.

Carrying the wedding ring in the fourth finger is associated with the ancient belief that a special nerve or vein runs through this finger to the heart. Putting the ring in this finger symbolizes the linking the love with the heart.

Mutual exchange of rings isn’t very old tradition because previously only the woman got the ring in her finger showing that she belongs to a man. Before the 19th century different tradition was used in Estonia for that – bonneting the bride.

Throwing the flower bouquet – to ensure  the wedding would not to be the last one, the tradition has to be given over to the next couple. It has to be agreed who is going to be the next lucky ones who will invite the people (or at least this wedding couple) to their wedding party. For this a game where single girls gather to catch the flower bouquet that the bride throws over her shoulder is used. The girl who catches the bouquet will get the honour and attention. The girl and her partner are usually expected to get married soon.

Information was provided by the master of the ceremony Anti Einpaul

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