Betrothal

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Betrothal

 

a ceremony of marriage engagement. Among Russians in the past, the betrothal (variously called pomolvka, zaruchen’e, rukobit’e, and predsvadeb’e) was one of the rituals in the wedding cycle, following the matchmaking and courtship. At the betrothal ceremony, the parents gave their final agreement to the marriage of their children and set the conditions of the marriage. The contract, sometimes in writing, was usually sealed by a symbolic striking on each other’s hands (rukobit’e) between the fathers of the couple. After the betrothal, it was no longer possible to reject the marriage; if one side broke the agreement, it was obliged to compensate for damages—“to pay for dishonor” (zaplatit’za beschest’e).