Korovai. A traditional braided wedding bread baked from wheat flour embellished with little dough flags and figurines (sun, moon, birds, animals, etc). Its origin is ancient, and it is a relic of the pagan belief in the magical properties of grain. Women prepared it while singing traditional wedding songs at the new home of the couple about to be married. The bride and groom were blessed with it before their marriage ceremony. At the wedding the korovai was kept in a prominent place, and the bride was greeted with it when she arrived at her new home. After the nuptials, the best man served it to all the guests; some scholars consider this ritual a manifestation of collective communion.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]

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