The Slovak Capping Ceremony
by Mark Jesko
The parte was removed by her mother, god-mother and grandmothers. All of her female relatives and friends were there as well. After removing the Parte, the mother and godmother braided her hair into a single plait and then tied it into a bun. Up until this time, the girl could wear her hair in 2 plaits or loose, as was the custom for children.
The grandmothers then placed the Cepec or marriage cap on her head. She never left her home without the cepec on her head after that. This was the most important step in a young woman's life. It symbolized her move from childhood to adulthood. Giving up her girlhood play to become a contributing member of the village community.
In this country, they used to have the mother of the bride remove the wedding veil as her last official act as mother of the bride. The bride was becoming an adult and would have her own home and soon children.
The capping is still carried out at many Slovak weddings, especially the village ones. At midnight the bridal pair appear in full folk dress and the bride's flowered wreath is taken off and replaced with a matron's cap.
Beautiful songs are sung - her transition to being a wife. Sometimes her par'ta or maiden's wreath is carried around by the best man on the point of a saber after he asks her for it three times - there was something magical about three times, just like the old fairy tales.
You can email Mark Jesko at MJESKO@webtv.net
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