Traditional Ukrainian embroidery is well known for its exquisite beauty and complex patterns. A variety of authentic embroidery plays a significant role in an Ukrainian wedding ceremony. Wedding bread(Korovai) and authentic embroidery is of traditional importance and, signifies the national character.

Here we will explain to you exactly why embroidered towels have such a large role in wedding traditions. We will also discuss how to correctly prepare the embroidered towel for the wedding rituals.

From ancient times, towels symbolized a form of protection. The specific energies within the embroidery are characterized according to the specific patterns, colors, and placement of key elements.

Wedding EmbroideryThe embroidered towel "formulates" the future life of the family. These sacred stitches contain specific wishes and expectations for the future, brought forth through good intentions from the hands of the towel's creator. The power of such ritual is conditional - the person, who creates the towel's embroidery should be acquainted with the meaning of certain symbols used. The individual should be kind and friendly, and provide the artwork with the best of intentions.

The bride should make an embroidered towel by herself, because noone wishes the future family more success than the actual bride. By ordering the wedding towel from somebody else, the bride risks the possibility of introducing the thoughts and wishes of others into the future life of her family. Such intentions are not always good. Even while making the embroidered towel by herself, the bride should be careful. She should not allow negative thoughts or a bad mood to influence the process. If you have a bad mood or have distressed feelings, it is better to defer the work and wait for a better and more peaceful mood.

The choice of fabric used for the wedding towel is very important. The towel should consist of one solid piece of fabric, never from several pieces which are sewn together... " like fate, which moves ever forward, never to be interrupted."

According to ancient canon of embroidery towels, each towel is divided into three approximate even parts. Both end portions should contain embroidery, and the middle of the towel should always remain untouched. The middle part of the towel, which is without embroidery, symbolizes the purity of God's kingdom. One should remember this when choosing templates for embroidery. If ignored, positive intentions are disregarded and this may alter the fate, and may become dangerous to the family's future. This is why the individual chosen to perform embroidery on the wedding towel should be aware of such requirements. Such precautions must be made in order to prevent any problems which may interfere with God's blessing for the prospective couple.

Groom and bride step on the embroidered towel at the RAGS marriage ceremony

Now, after all of which has been discussed, you are probably curious as to what the couples do with the towel when it is ready. When the couple goes to the church service, they take the towel with them. Before they stand in front of the altar, one of the mothers (or godmothers) of the bride or groom, spreads the towel on the floor. There is a saying in Ukraine- "He or she who steps on the towel first, will be the head of the family." Most often, the bride and groom decide not to differentiate each other so much and attempt to step on the towel together. Such compromise symbolizes the beginning of matrimonial magic.

In some regions of Ukraine, mothers will hide big coins under the four corners of the towel. This is done before the couple stands on the towel. This is performed in an effort to symbolize that they will have life without misery.

At the end of the ceremony, the bride should kick the towel out of the church with her foot. This tradition signifies that she is trying to influence all unmarried girls to soon become wed themselves.

A wise bride will keep and protect her wedding towel after the wedding, as it will encompass protective power for the family's future.