Siberian Germans - Marriage and Family

The typical Siberian German marriage is monogamous. The man is the head of the family. The woman raises the children, takes care of the household, and is in charge of the money. In German peasant households there were always many children (approximately six to ten). Even today, such a large family is not unusual, although the trend is toward a smaller unit. The traditional importance of the family is expressed in family rites. Germans celebrate children's birthdays and christenings. The Baptist and Mennonite christening rite, considered most important, is conducted when the child has come of age.

Traditional marriage practices have been especially well maintained. The major features of the German wedding include the festive procession through the village, displaying the bride to the guests; traditional wedding songs and parting words to the young; and various frolicsome games (for example the stealing of the bride's shoes). Before everyone leaves to go to sleep, it is customary for someone to take a wreath of wax flowers from the bride's head. Marriage rites do not vary among the various German groups.

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