The authors present some wedding traditions and customs performed in the Romanian villages during 1850-1950, on the basis of less known information included in the answers sent from four localities of Bacău county to the Chestionarul Obiceiele juridice ale poporului român (Questionnaire Romanian People’s Legal Traditions) of B. P. Hasdeu (1877) and from six localities from counties Arad, Bacău, Baia and Mehedinţi to the Chestionarul XII. Obiceiuri juridice (Questionnaire 12. Legal Traditions) of Ion Muşlea (1938). In elaborating this work, they have also used information related to wedding included in the answers given to the following questionnaires: Programa pentru adunarea datelor privitoare la limba română (Syllabus for Collecting Data on Romanian Language) (1884; elaborated also by B. P. Hasdeu), Casa (The House) (1926; Romanian Language Museum of Cluj), as well as data from the papers presented at the Ethnography and Folklore Seminar of Cluj University during 1932-1948.
Having as a starting point the distinction operated by Ernest Bernea between tradition (seen as a compulsory fact, inherited from previous generations) and custom (seen as a recurrent act establishing the traditional norm in terms of how to behave in different occasions), the authors present the religious criteria that had to be met so that the union between a man and a woman could be recognized by the Holy Mystery of Marriage. Afterwards, taking into account the information comprised by the documentary sources consulted, the authors point out how the Christian tradition of wedding was complied with in the wedding customs in the Romanian village of the period 1850-1950. Then the authors review the most important moments of the wedding traditions practiced until the World War I that had to be fulfilled in the union between a man and a woman so that this union could be considered marriage: the religious marriage ceremony was mandatory (those who lived together without having been religiously wedded were considered “lawless”); parents had to consent to the marriage (those who married without having their parents’ consent were disinherited); as a general rule, the ones to be married had to be descendants of families of similar social status; marriage usually united young persons of the same village (otherwise, both communities would be reticent to the marriage); blood-related persons, those related by adoption or those who were baptized together were not allowed to marry each other; children were to be married in the order in which they were given birth, etc. The newly formed family represented a social unit which identified itself by the name of the husband and by the economic independence and moral values of the wedded. The paper ends with a list of the main movable and immovable material assets obtained by the wedded by endowment or inheritance, providing economic independence to the new family, and with a comparison between the periods before and after World War I.
Keywords: wedding, tradition, custom, questionnaire on legal traditions, dowry.
Cuvinte-cheie: nuntă, datină, obicei, chestionar juridic, zestre.