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Dowry in the USSR: what our mothers got married with



Red rye field, and the bride dowry - teaches old Russian proverb. In the era of youth of our mothers, excessive concern for material goods was considered philistinism, but sleeping in bed linen and eating cutlery from plates was accepted even in the USSR.

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Therefore, every bride, even a Komsomol member, at a certain point in her life thought about a dowry. With what Soviet women married, tells


The first and most important thing a bride should bring to her new family is bed linen. This tradition has survived all — revolution, civil war, the triumphal march of Soviet power, collectivization, the formation of pioneers and the Komsomol, and so on. While the young Komsomol members were building communism, the grandmothers and aunts in the villages gathered for them fluff to fluff fluffy pillows, featherbeds and blankets. Those who are not lucky with such old-fashioned grandmothers, they bought in stores the usual Soviet bedding, so that they would have the usual Soviet ottoman or sofa bed. We only note that in the Soviet Union both beautiful sheets, duvet covers, and decent furniture needed to be “got out” - in the dictionary of that time, one of the most popular was the word “deficit”.

Provincials went to storm the capital's shops. For the shortage, they defended kilometer queues, but then proudly covered the matrimonial bed with beautiful sets

Tamara, 65 years:

“On the eve of the wedding, my future husband and I went to Leningrad - to admire beauty, and to go shopping. In Gostiny Dvor, I bought myself bed linen as a dowry - with lace, with embroidery! In our town this beauty was not available. Returning home through Moscow and there, in the Pervomaisky department store, I bought some beautiful towels. Their quality was excellent, some of them still serve and look decent. ”

Olga, 68 years:

“I distinguished myself: I bought a white moire with an embossed pattern and sewed luxurious pillowcases with ruffles into my dowry! Nowhere and no one was like that, I was proud. ”


This subject of the Soviet interior in today's youth does not cause anything but irony. Photo on the background of the carpet - what could be more? And still 40 years ago, against the background of wall carpets, they were photographed with pride: luxury, comfort, wealth! It is now full of carpet everywhere, went and bought, if necessary, writes In the USSR, the purchase of a carpet was an event. They were brought to furniture stores, and in strictly limited quantities, and distributed among the population according to a strict system. People signed up for the purchase of carpets in the queue, moreover, the priority was given to citizens with special merits over the Fatherland, for example, war veterans. If the queue for the purchase of the carpet was suitable, the person received a postcard with a notice that he was finally honored with this honor. The lucky one came to the store and took what they had, with minimal choice.

If the queue was alive, people wrote on their hands the number of their turn with a chemical pencil and once in a couple of hours they made a roll call, if everything was in place. For the sake of the carpet they were ready to literally pass the night at the entrance to the store. A bride capable of decorating living space with carpets was not considered anyhow. By the way, the carpets of that time, unlike modern ones, were of very high quality, made of natural wool. They are easy to clean and do not fade in the sun.


The magic word is set! For example, the famous "Golden Daisies" of the Leningrad Porcelain Factory. Or quite chic - "Cobalt net", the same manufacturer. Or a masterly, sybaritic "Madonna" produced by the GDR!

Sometimes the bride and groom received this invaluable beauty as a gift from the guests at the wedding, but often the mother of the future young wife “took out” the service in advance so that the young would enter a new life fully armed. In the famous Moscow department stores bought luxury sets of cutlery in small suitcases - nickel silver, with elegant rounded knives, with heavy cast handles. Crystal vases, sugar bowls, candy bowls and the like letting the rainbow bunnies decorate the future furniture wall to young people, as a rule, were given by guests.


Polished wardrobes and nightstands, mirrored tricuspid trellis — everything that now refers to the dacha for its old-fashioned and provincial look was a hit in the 70s. Shining lacquer furniture produced by friendly countries of the social camp was much more natural, for example, fashionable clothes of those years, entirely synthetic. And certainly much more environmentally friendly than modern furniture. These are not pressed chips of our day, but natural wood veneer - oak, ash and so on.

“Before the wedding, we went to Moscow with the future husband to buy a sofa bed. In our province, too, it was possible to buy furniture, but simpler, but we wanted a special one. Our sofa bed had a polished cover, under which you could hide bedding and pillows during the daytime. It cost 170 rubles. ”


Vacuum cleaner, iron, refrigerator, washing machine - usually young people started to save money together on all these items immediately after the wedding. But even in the USSR not everyone had the same wealth. A wealthy bride could surprise a new kin even with a coffee grinder or, scary to say, with a mixer!

For scarce technique hunted in the capital's shops, reminds

Karina, 66 years:

“In our family, we thoroughly prepared for the marriage of our daughters: Mom and I regularly combed all the large stores in the capital — the department store Moscow, Polish Fashion, Belgrade, Leipzig, Novoarbatsky, the Svet store, and the department store Dobryninskaya metro station, and, of course, GUM and TSUM. So when I got married, I carried myself proudly: I had everything and even more! On my luxurious veil, all the brides in the registry office devoted their heads! But my husband was an enviable bridegroom, already in 26 years he had his own Zhiguli car, which for those times, in 70-s, was very good.


Some brides, fortunately, were not spoiled by the brains of Soviet propaganda. The best start for a young family is a decent amount of money! Since pre-revolutionary times in this regard, nothing has changed.

Galina, 67 years:

“I am a practical person and have been like this since birth. Therefore, she began to save money even when she was not acquainted with her future husband. I generally liked to save. So, when I got married, along with the dowry I brought my husband 500 rubles! We immediately bought the “Java” motorcycle with this money and rode it on a honeymoon trip across the Caucasus Mountains! ”

Transport, housing

A dowry worthy of millionaires from bourgeois countries in the USSR could afford a few. For example, high government officials or successful market traders in southern fruits from the Union republics. We note only that in those years it was impossible to simply buy and buy an apartment - they were all owned by the state. But if you wish, you could buy a private house.

Housing could be inherited, transferred to the young as a result of an act of donation, or by other means: parents helped the newlyweds with money for the first share in the cooperative, and then they paid the contributions themselves. But the cooperative apartments also got to the new settlers in turn and were not the property of citizens. Parents with good incomes gave their daughter motorcycles and cars.

... and even musical instruments

Irina, 69 years:

“I moved to my husband after the wedding with almost one piano - at that time I worked as an accompanist and gave music lessons at home. I inherited the grand piano from my mother. It was my main dowry, I earned my grand piano and at some moments I fed the whole family. The grand piano was sold when I retired. ”

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