Staged, performed and set:
Puppets and the drum:Vyacheslav Borisov Consultants: Dr. Tatyana Vladykina, Prof. Dr. Vladimir Vladykin
Wedding is one of the basic concepts forming the Udmurt world-outlook system:
Birth was thought to be Marriage to Life. Wedding was Marriage to a Man / Woman and Death was Marriage to Death or Marriage held the other way round.
THE PERFORMANCE IS 45 MIN. LONG.
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According to the Udmurt tradition a human life cycle consists of three weddings. A new-born baby was given a baby’s wedding, it was as if married to the earth and the whole world. Friends and relatives came to the house where a baby was born. They brought dainties and songs with them. wishing luck to the parents and praising them, and giving their best wishes to the children. Every child was wished long life and good luck.
Unlike many other nations, the Udmurts did not prefer boys to girls, they rejoiced over every baby. The Udmurt word for ’children’ is either nylpios or pinalyos, i.e. ’boys-girls’ or ’grits-boys’. A home without children was desolate and arid. People thought that the more children a family had, the more God loved them. And although life was never too easy. nobody was deprived of attention or affectionate words. Children were usually called zamia bugore ’my golden darting’, gydyke, dydyke ’my dove’. In a good home these words were used quite often. Leaving home, entering another social or age category, was such a painful experience that it was almost associated with death. That is the reason for so much anguish in the recruiting and bridal laments. The child grew up. It is time to consider another wedding — this time real one. The Udmurts took marriage very seriously, as peasants usually do. From that time on they started to count a new. real life. It was no mere chance that in a wedding song they sang about the previous life being left on the other bank of the river the child has crossed the river and came to the other bank as a grown-up. It was considered everyone’s duty to have a family.
The wedding party lasts three days. and for three days and nights songs never cease. The bride’s and bridegroom’s families compete, trying to outsing each other. Nobody gives in. The winners are joy and song: new melodies, new verses emerge that refresh one’s mind and gladden one’s heart. The wedding ceremony comes to an end, but memories remain for the whole life. And these help the young couple in their hard times, keep them from going astray into the thickets of misapprehension or from falling into the bottomless pit of offence, prevent them from strewing cold snow on this sole warm path that leads from heart to heart.
Children have left home. Old age is creeping near, as stealthily as a cat. It is time to set out on one’s last and longest journey, to take the road, by which, as Udmurts believe, wild ducks Пу. Tragic… But not dreadful, if you have lived your life respectably, if you have not been useless to other people, which means, to yourself as well. You take your holy wedding dress out of the chest. Again… Wedding songs are sung again. Only this time they are sung «in reverse order» — because this time it is not the joyful wedding sounding with music and songs that used to be. but the saddest, the last, irrevocable one. A person is wedded with the earth forever. He passes away to the land of eternal peace, taking with him his everyday cares. What remains, is the good that he managed to do in his life