Poznan's Bambers wedding ceremony
Folk Group “Wielkopolanie” with great success presents the folklore of Greater Poland’s five regions and sub-regions, cultivating their dances, costumes, customs and ceremonials all over the world.
In 2013 thanks to “Wielkopolanie” after many years of preparatory works outfits of residents from villages of city of Poznan have been reproduced and passed the phase of stage performances.
In cooperation with the Ethnographic Museum in Poznan, costume specialists, folk artists and eventually professor. Mirosława Bobrowska expert on Greater Poland’s folklore , Peter Kulka has developed choreographic arrangement called “Poznanski Podkoziołek”.
“Podkoziołek” is a folk game, which took place during Polish carnival with the participation of the girls that were not yet married. They met with the bachelors inside village halls or taverns where during the dances they submitted donations (money) to the folk bands. Donations were placed in front of goat statue – usually it was the head of a goat or a bust but in some regions boy’s statue carved from potato or turnip.
First performance in Poland took place during a concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Folk Group “Wielkopolanie”. During performance viewers could watch the dances and hear songs of the inhabitants of former villages of Poznan (currently districts of the city) as well as those of Poznan’s Bambers. The arrangement has been also presented and awarded during stage presentation held during “Beskids’ Culture Week” festival for the “stylish presentation of carnival customs of Greater Poland in costumes, music, dancing and props.”
After two years of the performances “Poznanski Podkoziołek” artistic program was extended by new ceremonial called “oczepiny”.
“Oczepiny” is a former custom and part of wedding ceremony, during which the bride symbolically passed from maiden to married status. The name comes from the cap or bonnet (Polish: czepiec) – headgear which married women wore in place of the maiden headgear or vail.
Ceremonial took place at midnight, when the bride was taken aside to separte chamber during “Oj, chmielu, chmielu’ song being sung … Then women took off bride’s maiden headdress and imposed a cap. In the case of Poznan’s Bambers an attribute of marriage was symbolised by a golded cap intricately embroidered with gold and silver thread.
Preparations for the Poznan’s Bambers “Oczepiny” custom began with the numerous consultations in the Ethnographic Museum. Thanks to courtesy of museum management essential attributes of the custom – unique gold bonnets of Poznan’s Bambers could have been previewed.
After examinations, it was time to prepare both gold bonnet and wedding cornet – maiden headdress of the bride. Both of these caps were made personally by Peter Kulka, director of Folk Group “Wielkopolanie” operating at “Wojewódzka Biblioteki Publiczna i Centrum Animacji Kultury” (Provincial Public Library and Culture Animation Centre) in Poznan. At the same time numerous consultations with prof. Miroslawa Bobrowska took place in the matter of both theoretical and practical aspects of wedding dances and songs.
First scene presentation of Poznan’s Bambers “Oczepiny” ceremonial took place during an authentic wedding of “Wielkopolanie” members – Hanna Jaworska (manageress) and Jan Galasiński (dancer).
Ceremony began with the arrival of wedding guests – Poznan’s Bambers and residents of former villages of the city of Poznan, which was accompanied by shots from “harapnik” – ritual whip made from roe-deer legs and braided straps.
Then the scene was filled with wedding dances choreographed by Peter Kulka – among others “wiwat”, “przodek”, “chodzony”, “równy”.
At midnight it came the time for proper unveiling ceremonial. Accompanied by the ceremonial singing bride with the assist of women has been taken away to side chember where wedding cornet was removed from her head. This specific cap not found in other costumes of Grater Poland was made of white flowers, glass baubles and rosemary and decorated with white, pink and blue ribbons. Back of the cornets was decorated with three embroidered ribbons pinned in bows.
In place of the cornet women had put gold cap called “czopka złotolita” on bridesmaid’s head. Cap was made of gold brocade, decorated with gold and silver embroidery in the form of flower petals and acorns. Gold embroidery appeared also on ribbons reaching to the waist and forming a bow at the back of a cap. Bride unveiled in process of such headgear change was brought back to main room of wedding reception.
There was no end to the rejoice and dances. At the end all of the present wedding guests had a chance to participate in “Wałek” – a characteristic dance of Poznan’s Bambers that resembles dance known in various regions of the Poland as “Mietlorz”.
Unveiling ceremony became permanently included in the repertoire of Folk Group “Wielkopolanie”.