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WEDDING FOOD OF SYMBOLS AND SIGNS
This article presents an analysis of the food consumed during the wedding ceremonies of Germans living in Siberia, and describes the main functions and characteristics of this food. It explains the symbolic meaning of many ritual meals in relation to each element of the wedding ceremony, from matchmaking to the final day of the celebration.
Bread was the most important type of food in these rituals; it was present throughout the wedding ceremony as a symbol of wealth and prosperity as well as a sign of agreement and marital union.
The study of traditional food and its components is an important field in modern ethnology. Ethnic character is expressed comprehensively through food, as the essential component of the system of subsistence.
This applies in full to the wedding food of Germans living in Siberia. Such food is characterized by conservatism, stability, and symbolism. The wedding food of Germans in Siberia, as well as the food of many other peoples, comprises an entire system of symbols and signs. Some types of food were commonly ascribed supernatural qualities such as healing, producing, and apotropaic functions.
For example, meals made of legumes and cereals were regarded as symbols of rich harvest, and thus of family prosperity. Sauerkraut was thought to possess healing properties, and symbolized wealth and prosperity. Bread, present in all wedding rituals, was also a symbol of wealth and prosperity.