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The description of the Suiti wedding traditions and ceremonies posted here is based on the material written by Jānis Šperliņš and published in the book Senās suitu kāzas und ķekatas in 1937.

Marriage arrangement

In ancient times, the bride had to be stolen by the future husband and his relatives. And this theft was not always coordinated with the bride herself and her family. The fact that violent theft of brides was not without injuries and human sacrifices and was considered a real problem is evidenced by the fact that in the Duchy of Courland a death penalty was provided for such an act.

In our recent past, bride-stealing had been replaced by marriage arrangement. The future husband, who had set his sights on a bride, asked one of his married relatives to play the role of matchmaker and inform the bride and her parents of his relative’s proposal. In cases where the intended bride did not know the boy and had not seen him before, her task was to arrange an opportunity for her to see the boy. This could happen because in earlier times any relationship before marriage was considered immoral. If the intended bride refused the bridegroom, then the case was ended with that. In a little earlier times, the decision on choosing a bride was made not by the boy, but by the boy’s parents. They were the ones who sent the woman negotiator. If the proposal was accepted, the parents of the future husband and the bride agreed on a wedding day together with the newlyweds. Here, too, the woman negotiator played the role of a mediator.

The next step was to get formal agreement. This was done by groom with his godfather, but if the godfather was dead, then with one of his married relatives. In ancient times, marriages were ridden on horses, but in recent times, carriages were used. The formal visit took place in the evening and everyone at the bride’s house had to pretend that they knew nothing about it. Travellers dressed in good clothes, taking with them a piece of cheese and a bottle of vodka in their pocket. When the visitors had entered the bride’s house, the groom’s godfather had to tell them that they were lost, ask the name of this farmstead, and mention some other farmstead as the goal of their journey. They then had to ask hosts to show the way to their destination. Then the couple asked for a drink of water because they were thirsty, to which the hosts invited them inside the house, promising to show them the way later. When the guests were already inside, the host and the hostess offered them to stay the night. As it was already late and the road to their destination was bad. Then everyone sat down, the groom’s godfather took out the cheese and put it on the table.

At the table, the godfather again introduced the conversation that his godson needed a bride and that was the purpose of their trip. To that, the hostess of the house replied that maybe there is no need to go any further, because she also has daughters and maybe the guest can choose one of them. The godfather asked to show his daughters. First, the mother of the house brought in an older woman to the guests and asked if she would be suitable. To this, the godfather replied that there was a lot of work in their home and someone younger was needed. A young girl, a teenager, was brought in next. To that, the godfather had to say that she is too young and it still needs to be brought up. Then the real one was brought in, which the godfather recognized as valid. Here, the groom pulled out a bottle of vodka from his pocket and agreed to the godfather’s choice. Everyone drank vodka on this agreement. After that, they ate dinner and the couple stayed at the bride’s house for the night. In this evening, various practical questions about the future life of the young couple were discussed. The couple drove home the next morning around breakfast time.

Driving to the parish priest

When the wedding day was agreed, the new couple had to go to the church to register with the parish priest. It was usually done on Friday or Saturday, 2-3 weeks before the wedding. The bride was accompanied by the godfather and godmother, the groom was accompanied by the godfather. Drove with two carts, each from their own home. Then the following Sunday, the young couple was announced in the church.

Preparing for the wedding

The groom and his parents had to take care of the wedding itself, and the bride and her parents had to take care of the dowry and property brought with the bride. It was customary for each family that attended the wedding to bring a loaf of rye bread, butter and at least one half of a pig’s head. Some also brought cheese. In the past, wedding guests did not bring other gifts, and the young couple was not presented with flowers or gifts, as is customary in our days.

The groom and his parents invited their relatives, the so-called vedēji, and the closest neighbors to the wedding. The bride and her parents invited their relatives, the so-called panāksnieki, to the wedding. The number of wedding guests in a Suiti wedding was usually around 100-200 people and the wedding was celebrated for three days. About a week before the wedding, the groom went with the bride to the town for shopping (usually to Kuldīga or Aizpute). The groom had to buy beautiful pins (brooches), rings and a silk scarf for the linkainis (bride’s headdress) – the so-called līgstamais zīdenis. The bride bought the groom one silk scarf (the men tied it around the neck), one shirt, the so-called fine shirt, and handkerchiefs. The bride decorated the shirt at home with various embroideries. Vodkas and wines were also bought in the city for the wedding.

Bride’s dowry

The bride’s dowry consisted of towels, gloves, belts, white linens, tablecloths, sheets, socks and gifts for the husband’s father, mother, brothers and sisters. Daughters from wealty families had 100 towels, 100 pairs of gloves, 24 shawls, 12 bed sheets, 12 embroidered linen shirts, 12 pairs of white and 12 pairs of colored stockings in their dowries. The bride’s dowry was in a chest, later in a chest and a cupboard, or even in a chest and two cupboards.

Carrying dowry

Usually, weddings began to be celebrated on Sunday. The dowry had to be collected on Thursday evening before the wedding. In connection with this event, the bride’s parents held a small party, the so-called dowry ceremony, to which they invited some of their closest relatives and neighbors. Usually 20-30 people gathered there. After the dowry, the groom, his godfather and the groom’s brothers or, if there were none, other relatives of the groom drove to the bride’s house. The dowry was carried with 2-3 long work carts. The dowry-bearers stayed at the bride’s house overnight.

When the groom entered the homestead, he gave the bride a small cloth in which the gifts bought in the city were tied: cloth for linkainis, brooches, a silk shawl and a ring. Later on, the bride gave her gifts to the compatriot in the same cloth: a scarf that the groom had to tie around his neck on the wedding day, two shirts – one woven and one bought, both decorated, one pair of white gloves and one pair of white socks, which the groom will wear on the wedding day. In addition, one pair of white gloves for the groom’s mother. In the evening, everyone feasted at rich tables, sang, played and had a cozy time.

In the next morning, after sunrise, the dowry was transported. The dowry chest (and or a cupboard) was in the barn. It was covered with a white sheet and tied with decorated woven belts. Before carrying the chest, the brother of the bride sat on it and did not allow the chest to be taken until the groom had paid him one coin (a thaler, ruble or lat). Only then did he come down from the chest and the groom could place the dowry in the cart with his brothers. At this moment, the bride gave the groom a cloth with gifts. No feast was held at the groom’s home in connection with the bringing of the dowry. The groom only gave his mother a bridal gift – white gloves, and the dowry bearers brought the dowry to the granary.


The bride also received the so-called property from her parents, which was taken to her groom’s home after the wedding. It happened without any ceremony. The wealthiest owners gave their daughter 2 horses, 5 cows, 5-6 sheep, 1 big and 5 young pigs, 1 double-yoked cart, 1 work cart. Sometimes they also gave a table, 2-3 chairs, a bed, a plow, a harrow and horse harness. As for grains, summer seed in the spring and sometimes rye for bread until the following year. Apart from that, the bride brought about 12 skirts and 15-20 jackets with her. Those who were less wealthy naturally gave less. Traditional weddings in ancient times were not a cheap pleasure.

Who can visit the wedding house?

Only invited guests and beggars who stayed in the kitchen were allowed to visit the wedding house (groom’s house). Going uninvited to the wedding house was considered a great disgrace.


Taking the groom to church

A groom’s house had a gate of honor made of bent birches or fir trees. Gates of honor decorated with garlands were not made in the past. At the gates and doors of houses, small spruce trees were stuck in the ground in winter, and birch saplings in summer and autumn. Spruce branches were attached to the ceilings of the rooms in winter, birch branches, rowan flowers and flowers in summer, rowan tree branches with berries were attached in autumn. In addition, painted shavings and straw lanterns (puzuri) were used to decorate the ceilings.

The groom and the bride each drove to the church from their homes. The groom’s godfather and his wife arrived at the groom’s house around seven o’clock on Sunday morning. If he lived far away, he could have arrived as early as Saturday evening. At the wedding, he was called the dižvedējs. In the morning, the groom’s young male relatives – the vedējpuiši – also arrived. The groom’s young female relatives – the daughters, who were called the singer daughters, came to the wedding house only at lunchtime, when the new couple had to be expected from the church.

In the morning, breakfast was served to the arriving guests. Some grooms ate breakfast, but the most pious used to eat nothing before driving to church. After breakfast, everyone recited a prayer and sang a song from the hymn book under the leadership of the dižvedējs. This was called the pātaru skaitīšana. After that, the groom said goodbye to his parents, brothers, sisters and other relatives and together with the vedējpuiši got on the horses and went to the church. Dižvedējs drove to church with his wife. Horse harnesses were decorated with colorful wool yarn buttons. Groom was escorted to church with music (kokle and bagpipes, later violin and harmonica).

Departure of the bride

The bride was escorted to the church from her home. On Sunday morning, around seven o’clock, the bride’s godfather and godmother, called evening brother (vakara brālis) and evening sister (vakara māsa), as well as the panāksnieces and panāksnieku puiši – young female and male relatives of the bride – came here. Here, too, a gate of honor was built and rooms were decorated. The guests ate breakfast and before driving to the church, the evening brother said a prayer and sang a song. The bride was also sent off with music. If the wedding took place in the winter, special lighting was installed in the bride’s home by cutting a hole in the beetroot and placing a candle there to make red lights.

The bride said goodbye to her father and mother. Earlier it was a custom, that hands of parents were kissed. The bride’s brothers then carried the bride on a horse, which could be neither blue nor black. Horse bridles were decorated with colorful woolen threads and in summer also with flowers. The evening brother rode all the way beside the bride holding her horse’s reins. Behind them, the sister of the evening would ride with one of her relatives. The panāksnieki would put the panāksnieces on their horses and then they followed in pairs.

Wedding procession at the church

At the church, the bride usually entered sacristian’s house, where she changed. Here they took off her outer clothes and put on her head the linkainis. When the bride was ready for the ceremony, the entrance into the church took place in a certain order. First the bride was brought into the church, then the groom. Moments before the wedding ceremony, the evening sister removed the linkainis from the bride’s head. Only the crown remained on the head. After marriage, the linkainis was put back on the head again. Leaving the church also takes place in a certain order. The groom and the bride go out together, their hands crossed, they have joined the right hand with the right hand and the left hand with the left hand. The bride is at the right hand of the groom. The others follow the young couple. Outside, the young couple breaks up, as the bride enters sacristian’s house to change her clothes for the trip. The groom is waiting for her by the horses.

On the way home

After changing her clothes, the groom puts the bride on a horse and, holding its leash in his hand, rode beside her to home. Behind them followed the others in a strictly defined order. As they left the square near the church, the wedding guests fired pistols into the air. Also on the way home, wedding guests often shot. It often happened that obstacles were placed on the road: two men held a rope across the road and others stood next to them. The wedding party gave white bread and vodka to those who raised these obstacles. The road was then cleared and the wedding procession could move on.

Wedding reception

The bride and groom drove from the church to the groom’s house. As they approached, they started firing heavily again with pistols. When the wedding party was about one kilometer from their destination, the four boys broke away from the procession and quickly rode to the groom’s homestead. These were the messengers whose appearance indicated that the bridegroom would soon arrive. As they entered the homestead, these messengers turned their horses once, fired into the air, and rode hastily back, taking their former places in the wedding procession. At that moment, a lot of guests have already gathered at the wedding house. After the shots, they came out and stood at the gate to wait for the wedding procession. This was considered to be an important moment of the wedding ceremony that everyone in the wedding wanted to see. The new couple was welcomed with music and singing. Entering the gate, the bride threw her belt on the ground.

Already at home, the groom took the bride off the horse. The bride put a pair of gloves in the saddle and pulled off the reins of the horse, as a sign that there was nowhere else to ride.

Giving presents

The dižvedējs (groom’s godfather) took the bride by the arm and led her to the room through the kitchen together with the singer daughters. In the place of the hearth, the bride had to drop her belt. At the door of the room, the dižvedējs was cutting crosses on the threshold of the room with his saber. There was a richly laid table in the room. Above it hung a lamp in which several wax candles were burning. The newcomers sat down, the bride decorated the lamp with a belt and put a pair of gloves on a hook on a wall (used for hanging clothes). Then the dižvedējs and the bride entered the small room, where the groom’s mother was waiting for them. The bride put a pair of gloves (if she wanted a son) or a pair of socks (if she wanted a daughter) in her husband’s mother’s bed. After that, the husband’s mother took the bride under her arm and together with the dižvedējs, all three of them went to the sauna, where the bride threw off her belt. The same was done at the well and in the pigsty. In the end, the bride was taken to the granary, where a groom was waiting for her and where a sleeping place was prepared for the young couple. The bride also decorates it with a belt and puts a bottle of vodka under the pillow on the bed, the so-called sleeping brandy. Then the bride sat down in the granary on a chair, and the groom took off her crown and hung it on a hook on a wall. In the granary, the hook was already attached, but in earlier times, the groom attached it when the bride returned from the gift giving ceremony.

Putting on a cap

Then the sister of the evening (bride’s godmother) tied a cap and put on the linkainis. Cap was a present from groom’s mother, but was put on by the evening sister.

Entering the room

When the ceremony of capping was over, the dižvedējs took the bride by the arm, a brother of the evening took the groom, and they walked through the kitchen to the room. The dižvedējs and the bride walked ahead. Almost everyone had already gone into the room. On the way to the room, shots again were fired in the air and musicians were playing. A certain order was also observed when sitting at the table. Singer daughters went to granary to fetch panāksnieces. While passing through the kitchen, the panāksnieces had to throw a stone into the bread oven, so that they would be the winners in the future singing war (competition). If the singer daughters had already thrown a stone there, it was pulled out and the panāksnieces women threw their stone there. Arriving at the table, the panāksnieces kissed the bride. It was customary for the bride to sit at the table with a sad face. Then the groom’s mother entered the room and the panāksnieces took off their white shawls and threw them on to the husband’s mother, who took these shawls and took them away to the granary. After that, the panāksnieces women had to try to break the leg of the bench.

Then the evening brother got up and began the prayer, singing from the hymn book: We want to eat this food and do not forget to give thanks to God, who has created the food, made the drink. That marriage binds two free people together; that they are always pious, hating those sins, helping each other and receiving God’s blessing. In the crowd, multiply within yourself and teach the children for the good.

After the prayer, the singer daughters took a child in their arms and the bride put a pair of gloves on it. Then the dižvedēj’s wife took a loaf of white bread and a piece of meat, gave it to the groom, and the groom took them to the kitchen and gave them to the beggars. Then he himself went to the granary.

Lunch and singing

Then everyone started eating. Only the bride did not eat. She still had to sit at the table with a sad expression on her face. After the evening meal, the brother of the evening recited the prayer again. Then the groom returned to the room and the musicians started a pašpāru dance. It was danced according to a strictly defined order: the dižvedējs with his wife went out to dance first, then the brother of the evening with his wife, and then only the groom with the bride. When all three couples had danced, the dižvedējs drew three lietuvēnu crosses with chalk: two on the door and one on the floor. They were drawn to protect against all evil. Only after that, the host allowed others to dance as well. Before this permission by dižvedējs, no one else was allowed to dance at a wedding.

After the dance, all the panāksnieki boys and girls went to the granary. The bride also went to the granary with her groom. Here they had a special dinner table with all the best things prepared for the wedding. At the table in the granary sat the brother of the evening with his wife and the dižvedējs with his wife. Everyone ate and drank. During the meal, the hostess placed two empty plates on the table: one for the groom, and the other for the bride. Under them, the groom and the bride each left one piece of money (a thaler, ruble or lat). When the lady responsible for the food cleared the table, she took the money.

The panāksnieki returned to the room and the singing began between the daughters of the singers and those of the vedēji. The vedēji always sat at the table on the side of the wall, and the singers’ daughters sat on the opposite side of the vedēji. The groom and his bride stayed in the granary. Singing continued alternately with dancing. In the past, long dance, kamoldancis, wire dance, towel dance, four-pair dance, six-pair dance, later also opswaltz, stotzgalop, polka, cossack, cross-polka, akanšpici and Jewish dance were danced at weddings.

In the evening

The singing and dancing continued until the evening. The young couple went to bed without any ceremony without the wedding guests noticing. In the evening, the nearest guests went to their homes to sleep, while the further ones stayed at the wedding place overnight. Married people and men usually slept ontop of granary and barn. Girls and old women stayed to sleep in the room where straw was brought to sleep.


Awakening the young couple

We got up early on the morning of the second wedding day. As soon as the guests had bathed, they served a small breakfast with jelly, bread, butter, beer and vodka. After breakfast, everyone went to wake up the young couple. At the door of the granary, musicians played, boys shot, girls sang. When the groom and the bride came out of the granary, they had vodka and cheese in their hands, which they gave to the wakers to drink and eat.

Removal of the crown

After waking up the newlyweds, everyone went to the room to eat the big breakfast. After this breakfast, there was a ceremony of removing the crown, called the dancing of the crown. It started around nine o’clock in the morning.

The bride, the panāksnieki girls (bridesmaids), the dižvedēj’s wife and the sister of the evening went to the granary to change clothes. Music was playing. In the granary, the bride took her crown from the hook and wrapped it in a silk shawl. Then the bride and groom went to the room holding hands. The dižvedēj’s wife and sister of the evening also came along.

The guys in the room took candles in their hands and lit them. In the room, the bride, the dižvedēj’s wife, the sister of the evening and all the bridesmaids joined hands and formed a circle. The guys and their groom made a second circle outside the circle of panāksnieki women. The guys had burning candles in their hands. The daughters of the singers did not take part in the removal of the crown. In later years, the groom did not participate in the boys’ circle. A circle of panāksnieki walked in a circle and sang. Then the groom’s sister came into the room from the granary and entered the circle. After that, the bride unwraps the crown from the silk shawl, kissed the groom’s sister and put the crown on her head, tying the shawl over the crown. Then the sister of the evening put on the bride’s aube. Aube was a headcap only allowed to be worn by married wives. After that, the bride and her husband’s sister went out of the circle and went to the granary, where the bride had to sit on her dowry chest and weep for the lost crown. The group of boys broke up and the grooom went to the granary. The girls continued to sing.

The groom and his bride were sitting in their own chairs in the granary. The sister of the evening tied a shawl on top of the aube. At this time, the singer daughters were singing outside the granary door. Then the groom and his bride took vodka, wine and cheese and treated everyone. First, a treat was offered to the panāksnieces women.

On the second day of the wedding, sometimes the bride and groom were still sung about at the table, but not necessarily. Prayers at the table on the second day were also not counted.

Distributing gifts

Around two o’clock in the afternoon, the distribution of gifts, the passing of towels and the throwing of money began. First, the table was covered with a large tablecloth, which was taken from the bride’s dowry. Then the bride’s brothers, other relatives and musicians went to the granary. The wedding party was in a good mood at that time, music was playing, shots were fired in the air and there was great joy. The bride’s brothers took the bride’s dowry, which was wrapped in two sheets, and carried it to the room. At least 50 pairs of towels, gloves, socks and belts were wrapped in these sheets. The evening sister also went to the granary, took the gifts that had been wrapped there earlier and brought them to the room. The bride’s brothers put the dowry on the table in the room, the sister of the evening held the gifts in her hands.

The distribution of gifts began with the bride handing the groom richly designed colorful gloves, which he tucked behind the bruslaks (men’s jacket of the Suiti). Then the groom’s father and the groom’s mother were seated on two chairs in the middle of the room. The bride handed the father-in-law a shirt, gloves and socks. They were all white in color and decorated. The bride presented the groom’s mother with a white shawl, an aube, a silk shawl, gloves, stockings and a belt. They put the aube and the silk shawl on the head, the white shawl was put on the shoulders, and the gloves, socks and belt were put in the hand. Then came the groom’s sisters, to each of whom the bride gave a silk shawl, a shawl, socks and a belt. If some of the groom’s sisters was married, then they also were given aube. The bride gave each of the groom’s brothers a shirt, gloves and socks. These were not all ordinary gloves and socks, but dowry gloves and socks specially made, dyed, and decorated. The shirt was also different. They sang while giving out gifts.

Towel racking

Once the distribution of gifts was complete, the toweling began immediately. It so happened that the bride went to the table, took two towels and put them crosswise over the shoulders first of the dižvedējs, then the brother of the evening, then all the guys (both panāksnieki and vedēji) who came to the bride one by one. All of them were anointed by the bride. One pair of gloves was sewn to the end of each towel. Each person who received the gift showed joy for his gift and went dancing immediately after receiving it.

When the handing of towels was finished, the bride presented the panāksnieki women with one pair of gloves, one pair of socks and a belt. What was left on the table, the bride tied again in a sheet and gave it to a groom, who took it to the granary. The bride went with him.

Throwing money

When the bride and her groom returned from the granary, the bride placed two clay plates on the table, one inside the other, in the place where the dowry had been placed. Everyone sat down around the table in the same order as when eating lunch on the first day. A bottle of vodka was placed on the table, which the dižvedējs had to handle. The coin toss began. For each towel, one piece of money (a thaler, ruble or lat) had to be thrown into the upper plate. So, each man, who received two towels, had to toss two coins. Only those who received towels threw money. The first was the dižvedējs, then the evening brother, and then one by one all the others. As soon as someone tossed in the money, the dižvedējs immediately transferred it to the lower plate so that the upper plate always remained empty. The dižvedējs had to count the money, and also pour a glass of vodka for everyone who threw money, which they had to drink. Some coin throwers tried to purposely throw coins so hard that the top plate would break. Usually, some plates also managed to be broken. There was singing during the coin toss. When the money throwing was finished, the groom took the money and gave it to the bride, who took it to the granary. The groom went with her.

After that, the so-called vierbiņu (needle) money was thrown into the room. Small change was thrown here. One of the panāksnieki guys walked around the wedding guests with a ladle in his hands, who threw money into the ladle. Vierbiņu money was intended only for the bride to compensate for the cost of knitting needles lost while making the dowry.

After the vierbiņu money, they also threw in the money for the cooks. At each wedding, a few women were hired to cook. The cook money was also thrown into a ladle, which was carried out by one of the vedēji boys. As with the vierbiņu money, small change was thrown for the cooks’ money.

In addition to cooks, beer bearers were hired at every wedding, who brought beer to the guests with wooden cans. For drinking, beer was poured into glasses or porcelain cups. In ancient times, people drank from wooden jugs, and even before that from wooden cups. These men were called beer men and it was not accepted to throw money for them.

After the coin toss, it was a feast again. Pig heads, sausages, cheese, pretzels, vodka, beer and various breads were put on the table. A decorated calf’s tail was placed on a plate in front of the evening brother. When he sat down at the table, he had to wag this calf’s tail. He sang while eating.

Breaking of hooks

Then the panāksnieki women got up at one point, overturned the benches in a circle and broke some small wooden hooks (usually used to hang clothes), which were specially attached to the walls for this purpose. When this was done, the panāksnieki women went out into the yard. The daughters of the singers also went out through another door into the yard, where the war of songs continued. Outside, after repeating several previously sung songs, the daughters of the singers change the sharp tone of their songs and begin a peace match.

Making peace again

When the peacmeking between women from both sides began, the guys had to take spruce branches and push both sides of the fighters together. There the women of both parties kissed. It was a sign that the spirit war is over and peace is made. After the peace match, the panāksnieki women presented cheeses to the singer daughters and guys.


On the third day of the wedding, there were no more ceremonies. After lunch, the guests were already preparing to go home. In addition, those who lived further from the wedding house were the first to go. Those gifted with towels drove home and rode with these towels hanging around them so that they could be seen by all. Before leaving, the guests were still treated to beer at the homestead. Many were showing off with their horses as they left.

In ancient times – in the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, wedding customs were slightly different. At that time, after the wedding in the church, all the participants rode and drove to the bride’s house. Only on the second day of the wedding, around lunch time, they rode and drove from the bride’s house to the groom’s house, where the wedding continued for the remaining day and a half. The part of the wedding, which took place at the bride’s home, was called the izdotenes or izdēbes. At that time, at the bride’s home, towels were laid out for the groomsmen and the dižvedējs, and at the groom’s home for the panāksnieki boys and the evening brother. The crown was also removed at that time at the home of the bride’s parents.

There were several beliefs regarding weddings in the Suiti community:

  1. If the wedding ceremonies take place clearly and without hitches, then there will be a happy life.
  2. If the first day of the wedding is foggy, then the new couple will be rich, but if it is sunny, then they will have to live in poverty. A full moon also promised wealth.
  3. When taking the bride to the church, those who stayed at home – parents, brothers and sisters – were not allowed to cry. Then the young couple will have a good life.
  4. If in the church, after the marriage and the crossing of hands, the groom turns around first, taking the bride with him, then he will rule over the bride in life, but if the bride turns around first, she will rule over her husband.

Although there were many different ceremonies at the wedding, there was also a lot of free time. The men spent this time playing cards and competing. Competitions at weddings were common. Pulling šautri was done most often. A strong stick was called a šautrs, which two men, leaning against each other’s legs, pulled each in their own direction. The one that was put on standing up was the winner.

They also spoke various witticisms and joked. The jokes were mainly made by the married men, because the unmarried guys danced a lot. In the Suiti community, it used to be accepted that you could dance only until the wedding. Married people no longer danced. This tradition began to gradually disappear around the First World War. Sometimes, at weddings, they organized a small improvised theater plays about various events and complications in family life: they changed wives, pretended to be baptized, went to funerals.

Married women used to engage in conjuring at weddings. The purpose of persuasion was to increase oneself and put the other down. Personally, the wives did not touch each other, but grouped themselves in parishes, which used to be called counties. So, for example, Basi women boasted and cheated on Gudenieki women and vice versa. The side with the nimblest tongue won. Sometimes married men also got involved in coaxing.

That’s how weddings used to be celebrated in the Land of Suiti. Different variants existed and exist for different ceremonies. The version described here is based on the one written by Jānis Šperliņš in 1937.