Russian wedding traditions — the ceremonial doll


In Ancient Rus’ dolls served as a type of companion in everyday life. They helped to ensure that peace, health, prosperity and love reigned supreme in every home. Each important event — be it a wedding or the birth of a child — had its own special doll.

In Ancient Rus’ dolls served as a type of companion in everyday life. They helped to ensure that peace, health, prosperity and love reigned supreme in every home. Each important event — be it a wedding or the birth of a child — had its own special doll. The Krupenichka doll — named after the Russian word for grain, «krupa» — was considered the most important doll in home. During the harvest it was filled with grain and people believed that if filled to the top, the next year’s harvest was guaranteed to be plentiful. Another doll, the Kubyshka-travnitsa, was made by filling pieces of fabric with yarrow, mint, sage and hops. Such a doll was believed to protect the home and preserve a woman’s beauty and health. The Bird Woman was more of a ceremonial doll. It was made at the end of winter with the goal of encouraging spring’s timely arrival. In village homes there were as many as 100 such dolls, for every occasion and day. At the Kolomenskoe Estate Museum visitors can try their hand at making a doll for any occasion, such as a wedding, themselves. Popularly known as «Inseparables», people used to give these dolls to couples at weddings, along with their wishes for eternal love.