The next part is the multi-traditional part, when the wedding organizers can show their creativity by compiling traditional wedding values with modern interpretations.
In the country you can find new couples doing different farm works during the wedding - potato digging and pig feeding as well as planting family trees etc. Each activity has its own meaning and symbolism, but mainly it is a test of diligence.
The next step is to set a family ‘budget-holder’. All that is needed is a coin squeezed into a pie. A couple has to divide the pie into two parts. The one who has the piece with the coin is going to be the ‘family bank’.
Don’t be surprised to see the groom carrying his bride over a bridge. Poor guy will have to do it six more times. Crossing the bridge symbolizes a conversion from status ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ to the status ‘ours’.
Another widely known wedding tradition is passing the ‘Three gates’. Each gate is a symbol of human growth: first is the childhood gate, second – the youth gate and the third is the ‘husband and wife’ gate.
And as there are different activities to be done on each period of life, the new couple has to go through them, before they get to the weddings culmination, which is sometimes huge or sometimes just a small celebration party.
All family members, relatives and friends get together, have a delicious meal and various soft or strong drinks. The festivities can last up to three days. And during this time you won’t see anybody with an empty glass.
Of course, guests are getting tipsy and having lots of fun by playing games, dancing and participating in different wedding competitions, which pretty much is the main goal of the wedding fiesta.
After this goal is reached, guests should keep an eye on their personal things. It can happen that during the night some things can be ‘stolen’, for example, car keys or a wallet. So guests should be prepared the next day to ransom their stuff.
At midnight there is a special ritual at Latvian weddings. It’s a moment when the bride becomes a wife and the groom becomes a husband. In Latvia, when a newly married couple become a family, it is called “mičošana”.
The main highlight of this adaptation is for the wife to put on a bonnet instead of the veil, to don an apron and to have a rolling-pin or a bowl with a wooden spoon. The new husband needs to put on a panama and light a pipe.
A lot of the wedding customs were derived from the times of our ancestors and a lot of them are inspired from other countries.
For instance, the Russian tradition of putting a padlock on a bridge and throwing the key in the water, is a symbol of unbreakable love. This ritual has now become very popular among young couples.
Another widely known tradition, which you will see nowadays at almost every wedding in the Latvia, is throwing the brides bouquet to the single women, whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to get married.
Each country has its own traditions - some of them are still strictly followed, to keep the marriage as strong as possible, some are already forgotten and some are mixed in with a modern twist, but make no mistake a Latvian wedding is an unforgettable event.