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An overview of Tasia's home and yard, where the "pavenik" (broom) custom for her unmarried bridesmaids is held the afternoon before her wedding.
Katrina Thomas's notes: These dissenters refused to accept liturgical reforms imposed on the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th Century and were forced to flee persecution. Seeking to preserve their religion as a way of life, they moved first to outlying regions of Moscow, eventually fleeing Communism in both the Soviet Union and China to colonize countries around the world. In the 1960's, several groups reached Oregon and have remained. Although they are reclusive, with luck and persistence I manage to photograph unique customs at two weddings of a people who live much as they did in Old Russia "as God made them" without using make-up, or cutting their hair, or shaving. They wear peasant dress and play no musical instruments. Their music is liturgical chant, sung in unison in church by both men and women. At receptions, wedding guests dance to singing by women. No photographs are permitted in their churches. Nevertheless, despite faithfully honoring centuries-old customs, they cannot withstand completely the influences of U.S. wedding culture.