Author Topic: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey  (Read 13590 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Sarushka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6489
  • May I interest you in a grain of salt?
    • View Profile
Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« on: November 02, 2005, 09:12:59 PM »
I've run across a reference in my reading to a traditional Russian custom of sitting down for a moment before undertaking a long journey. I'm vaguely familair with this custom, but can't remember the details or reasoning behind it -- can anyone refresh my memory?
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Svetabel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4880
    • View Profile
    • http://svetabella.livejournal.com/
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2005, 05:59:37 AM »
Well, being a Russian I love this dear old custom and I understand it like that - you sit down before a journey (usually if you go for a long time) just to collect your thoughts, calm down,recall "have I taken all the things I need? have I done all what I wanted before my trip?" and have a rest ... :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by svetabel »

Offline Janet_W.

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1888
  • ...And no one's grief has ever passed you by...
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2005, 04:53:50 PM »
Sounds like tremendous common sense!

David_Pritchard

  • Guest
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2005, 09:28:16 PM »
Once while in Moscow just before leaving to go to Tallinn, I said goodbye to my Russian friends inside the flat and then I turned to them in the hallway outside and said goodbye or shook a hand over the threashold. Immediately there was an up roar. My baggage was scooped up and brought back in and I was escorted to the sitting room for a while to simply talk. The goodbyes were then repeated in the entry way and I left the flat without any words over the threashold.

It was explained to me that saying goodbye over the threashold was bad luck and that by sitting and talking in the flat before I left would ensure that I would return again. It was also stated to me that goodbyes must be done inside the flat, not over the threashold or in the hall way.

David

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by David_Pritchard »

Offline Svetabel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4880
    • View Profile
    • http://svetabella.livejournal.com/
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2005, 01:26:22 AM »
Quote
It was explained to me that saying goodbye over the threashold was bad luck and that by sitting and talking in the flat before I left would ensure that I would return again. It was also stated to me that goodbyes must be done inside the flat, not over the threashold or in the hall way.

David



Yeah, goodbyes must be said inside the flat. It's a bad sign (omen) to say goodbye outside. :)

Offline Ssyentz

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 418
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2005, 05:38:14 PM »
This is another custom that probably has its roots in something very practical.  Obviously it simply makes sense to do so, but I wonder what else could have prompted such a custom.  

Possibilities:  

Not a good idea to let your neighbors know the identities of those for who you have (or do not have) affection, loyalty, allegiances, etc.

Avoidance of PDA's.  (Public displays of affection)

Get out of weather. (open door, get in vehicle or, go)

Stay off the streets.(open door, move quickly)

Any other ideas?

Offline Belochka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4442
  • City of Peter stand in all your splendor - Pushkin
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2005, 12:48:11 AM »
My father instilled this tradition into me as a child. Before any long journey which involved staying away from home, we would all go and sit in the lounge room in silence for about a minute before our departure, while our packed bags waited by the door.

Now I do it myself with my own small family. It does not seem right if I do not observe this custom passed on to me.

I wonder how many Russian families continue with this quaint tradition?
???


Faces of Russia is now on Facebook!


http://www.searchfoundationinc.org/

Offline Baby Tsarevich

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1166
  • Anastacia Pavlovna V.
    • View Profile
    • Alyosha Sunbeam. (Mine and Dana's)
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2005, 12:54:13 AM »
Quote
I've run across a reference in my reading to a traditional Russian custom of sitting down for a moment before undertaking a long journey. I'm vaguely familair with this custom, but can't remember the details or reasoning behind it -- can anyone refresh my memory?



lol me and my family always do that!

AlyoshaSunbeam.com
updtd jan.22;2007.
check out the new addition: Nasha Russia

Offline Ssyentz

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 418
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2005, 08:49:02 AM »
Sounds like a terrific idea!

When I think back to family journeys, I mostly remember rushing around, jumping into whatever vehicle, and being already tired (not to mention just a little fussy! >:() by the time we were on the road.  And 90% of the time, we had to turn around within ten minutes to go back to retrieve whatever absolutely essential item someone forgot or (most frequently) for my husband to use the porcelain fcility!)

How a minute's rest before starting the engine would have helped!  Next time I'm off on an adventure, I shall insist on following this most sensible practice.

Thanks!

Offline pookiepie

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 150
  • vee are, how you say, Norvegians!
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2006, 12:53:12 PM »
my family totally does it. i guess it's the calm before the storm (for us anyway). it's just a nice little tradition. and what about hugging, kissing, etc... under the doorway? is that russian or not?  I've never heard of not being allowed to say bye in the hallway. is that a new thing they do in russia today or have i just never heard of it?

Offline AlexP@asia.com

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 93
  • GuangZhou, GuangDong, China
    • View Profile
    • Russian Shanghai
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2006, 12:30:46 PM »
GuangZhou, PRC
2006.06.10

Dear All,

The origins of this custom were actually introduced into Muscovy by the Golden Horde and up and through Kazan by the Tartars who they themselves had learned it from the Golden Horde.

In its modern incarnation, it involves sitting on suitcases to as a means of reflection.  It should be remembered that the Golde Horde was exceptionally nomadic in origin and that in their treck across the steppes of Muscovy, they packed and unpacked their leather-bound goods cases thousands of times.

As practised still today in the remote areas of Mongolia, the goods of one family are all fitted into a large leather-and-belt bound "trunk", rather long and rather oblong in shape.  This trunk is then placed onto a cart hauled by a yak, or by a donkey, or a horse and some of the family follows behind on foot while other members, usually the frail and/or the little ones, ride on the cart.  These "trunks" which in reality are simply belt-bound animal hides were the most primitive form of suitcases.

While the members of the Horde were awaiting their turn in the loading of these "trunks" on their carts or other matters of transport, the elderly women in the family and the small children developed the habit over the centuries of simply sitting on them, awaiting their loading.

So while indeed, in the emigration and in Russia, this custom is widely regarded as something uniquely Russian, it is an imported custom that owes more to Genghis Khan than it does to the people of Russia proper.

Additionally, it is a custom that remained outside of the mainstream of the then-Buddhist majorities in the Middle Kingdom, simply owing to the fact that cows were not killed for their skin nor for their meat.

All the best,

Alex
All of the Very Best from GuangZhou.

TheAce1918

  • Guest
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2006, 08:19:50 PM »
That is the coolest custom.  And like many have said, a great use of common sense.  I have to get into the habit of doing that more often, I just don't do that enough nowadays!   ;)

Offline Mike

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1326
    • View Profile
    • Erast Fandorin Museum
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2006, 02:25:16 PM »
While Nikolay Gogol calls this practice an "old Christian custom", it apparently has nothing to do with Christianity. As was sometime explained to me by an old peasant woman near Vologda, the purpose of this custom was to cheat the evil spirits and to make them believe that the would-be travellers are actually intending to stay rather than to leave.

Offline uhnastuhsiya

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2006, 04:10:05 AM »
Interesting. This entire post actually made me think of when the Romanovs were about to be taken to Tobolsk from the Alexander Palace and they were all gathered together in the Semi-Circular Hall. Granted, they were waiting for other reasons, but I can picture them so clearly just sitting on their suitcases.

Offline Lyss

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • View Profile
Re: Russian custom - sitting down before a journey
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2006, 06:21:01 AM »
I remember this also being a custom in some parts of Poland (don't know if in the whole of Poland). It's not a custom there anymore, but it makes me wonder if it's also to be found in other slavic countries.
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.