Some of the material in the TriCollege Libraries Digital Collections is available only to members of the TriCollege community. Please use your institutional credentials to log in. By logging in, you may be able to gain access to certain collections or items that are not visible by guest users. If you have questions about access or logging in, please use the form on the Contact page.
At the end of the reception, the bride Susan and the best man, or "ax'lache," identified by the three yards of white cloth he wears, go to each table, offering guests a shot of vodka. Guests drink to congratulate her and return the glass with a dollar donation.
Katrina Thomas's notes: Kalmyks are the descendants of the Oirats, a semi-nomadic Asian Mongolian people, who lived in felt yurts, and adopted Tibetan Buddhism during their migration from Asia to the European part of Russia. They remained there for nearly 400 years. After World War II, despite America's stringent immigration laws, 571 were admitted in 1951 and 1952, as displaced persons, under a special dispensation of the US attorney general. Others soon followed. Their weddings observe rules and hours, set by an astrological priest, for specified events which incorporate their traditions of a white road. It is based on the fact that milk and milk products are essential to the culture of a herding people. I photographed one wedding in Philadelphia. All the others took place in their rural neighborhood of Freewood Acres that has taken root in Howell Township, NJ.