Beer in Russian village

The exhibition represents rich brewing traditions of the Russian village. Beer is one of the most ancient beverages known to the Indo-European peoples whose origin is connected with the first stages of domestication and cultivation of the cereals. In Rus’ from old times it accompanied all significant rituals from rites bound to the life cycle to the community feasts. That is why this extended exhibition introduces to the visitors not only technological aspects of brewing the beer but also culture of its drinking, semantics and ritual functions of the beverage as well as their interpretations in the folklore and traditional beliefs. The exhibition embraces the period from the late 17th to early 20th centuries.

The exhibition consists of two thematic sections: "Brewing" and "Beer serving and drinking". In the first section one can see the utensils connected with all stages of brewing: gouged troughs and dippers, large earthenware pots, barrels, cans, funnels and copper tankards.

The second section represents traditions of beer drinking in the Russian village before the end of the1920s and beginning of the1930s, in the "Epoch of the Great Change". Its exhibits include copper chased and painted endova – deep spouted vessels, the large, spherical vessels bratina, scoops skobkars which were shaped like a swimming bird, and dippers, goblets and beer mugs. From ancient times beer together with heady honey drink and wine was the main beverage at the communal feasts such as "kanun", "bratchina", etc.

Celebration of the "kanun" festivals was held in the villages according to the vows given long ago in memory of emergency events: epidemics, murrains, hurricanes, crop failures, etc. Kanuns were carried out by a community either in turns or in a house of a wealthy farmer. Every participant made his contribution and out of this the kanun beer was being made.

Less wealthy farmers participating in the festival pooled together and brewed beer in churchyards, refectories at the Northern wooden churches. Such "community" beer was called also "skladchina" or "bratchina" and vessels assigned to kanun celebrations in refectories were stored in churches.

Bratchinas played an important role in keeping community spirit high. During bratchinas significant issues were being discussed, legends about origin of the villagers and their families were being told together with stories about the events that took place in old times as well as special "beer songs" were being performed. These were the feasts of men and women - young, healthy, strong, vigorous - who were true pillars of the community life. Children, boys and girls, spinsters and bachelors, loafers were not allowed to take part in the feasts.

Beer serving ceremony had rules of its own. The hostess served beer in a big dipper - skobkar or in endova. If beer was served in a large skobkar, the host held one handle of a vessel and his guest received it by taking another one. First wine-bowl filled with beer or wine was given to the most honored guest, who having made a sip passed it further. The origins of these customs date back to the ancient times.

Objects on display are supplemented with records of the folklore texts and “beer” songs, performed at feasts.

Exhibition area is about 40-100 square meters.

The number of exhibits is about 100.