Tuesday, June 19, 2012

German-Russian Wedding

Although Globeville's German-Russian immigrants were incredibly poor, they knew how to have a good time. One of the most memorable of those good times would be a wedding. Sam Dreith remembers stories of his parent's celebration. "When my folks got married, the wedding lasted three days. The first day, when they got married, the band walked down the wooden sidewalks (Globeville still had wooden walks) and played in front of them on the way to the church. After the ceremony the couple went back to the house where they were going to live.
"The first day of the celebration was only for the family and real close relatives, who were supposed to cook the food. And the traditional dish was a noodle soup and a butter dumpling made out of butter, eggs and bread. The second day was for extended family, maybe 20 to 30 people, and the third day was for everybody, maybe 50 people. Small by today’s standards. And everybody was supposed to bring food."
There were many traditions for helping the young couple raise money for their life together. Any man who danced with the bride pinned money to her dress, or the bride's shoe would be stolen and have to be bought back (presumably, the shoe would reappear for the bride to continue dancing). A beautiful pillow made by the bride's godmother would be passed around and money pinned to it. Sometimes men would steal the bride and make the groom buy her back, (a custom adapted from the Slovenians).
By the 1900s, white gowns were the custom with white gloves that were a gift of the groom. The groom wore flowers in his lapel and a long sash or ribbon. If the bridal couple traveled to church by horse and wagon, the horses were also festooned with flowers and ribbons.
Sam continued, "Folks used to chivareebeat on drums and wash tubs the night of the honeymoon. The groom was supposed to come out and throw money so you’d go away and leave them alone.”

from a conversation at the home of Sam Dreith, August 5, 1995 with Sam, Mary Dreith Modic, and Linda Dreith Kornafel.

1912 Wedding photo from First German Congregational Church, used with written permission from Sarah Wolf

Left to right, Christine Schwartz, groom John Lehl, Hrch Kildau, bride Katherine Hilzer Lehl, 
minister Adam Traudt at right, man with hat is Henry Treber.