June is a very popular month for weddings, at least in the United States. I have attended many weddings with various traditions, but if you ever attended a Ukrainian wedding, you can attest to the fact that there is lots of food, myriad of decadent desserts, special breads (Greeting Bread and Korovai) in addition to the Wedding Cake, and lots of dancing, to most likely very fast beats of a Ukrainian live band.
I would like to tell you about the special breads.
The Greeting Bread is basically the same recipe as the Easter Paska Bread, except that it has an indentation in the middle, for a small container of salt, accompanied by wine, which is used by the parents to greet the newlyweds, as they enter the reception hall. The parents, and the bride and groom, partake of the Greeting Bread dipped in salt, which symbolizes the bitter moments of life, followed by a sip of wine, which symbolizes the sweet moments in their married life. This also is a time when both families unite as one, and welcome the newlywed and their families into their family circle.
The Korovai is elaborately decorated multi-tier bread, which is not consumed, but rather a decoration and a gift from the parents to the newlyweds. This bread symbolizes community and the circle of life. One of the most prominent embellishments on the Korovai are very intricately formed dough doves and other birds, which symbolize the married couple, their family and friends, and fertility. Wishing the bride and groom future family growth, and healthy children. The breads are surrounded by a wreath, or leaves, of fresh periwinkle, symbolizing love and purity. (Periwinkle wreaths are also placed on the head of the Bride and Groom, during the blessing part of the matrimonial ceremony, at the church ).
Here are some pictures of other Korovais I have photographed at family and friend’s weddings:
Also the Wedding Cakes I was honored to taste at these weddings, during the last few years:
Wow, I am reliving those moments once more…..can’t wait to attend another wedding. I will make sure to take pictures of Korovai and Wedding Cakes, since I am totally fascinated be these creations.