Red corner tradition in Russia
Generally, the Red corner is the corner of the house in which the icons hang and there is a table. In fact, this is the most important place in the home. Traditionally, such a sacred place was in every house. In pagan times, idols of domestic gods stood in a red corner. However, with the advent of Christianity, their place became occupied by icons and consecrated objects. For example, a vessel with theophany water, twigs of consecrated willows and Trinity greens, etc. The red corner was turned, as a rule, to the south or east. In fact, the place resembled the altar of the Orthodox church. Interpreted as the place of the presence of the Christian God, and the table was likened to the church throne. Considered the most honorable place in the house, it meant for the master of the house, the priest or the guests of honor. Moreover, the “honor of the guest” decreased with distance from the red corner. In addition, during the calendar holidays and festive days, people put certain objects that they wanted to “honor”, into the red corner of their house. In particular, a pot of porridge on Christmastide, or the last sheaf brought from the field at the end of the harvest; washed and decorated kvashnya on Holy Thursday, etc. Entering the house, the person first of all crossed himself, turning to the icons, and only then he greeted the hosts.
Meanwhile, the Red corner since ancient times has been associated with the cult of ancestors. In particular, they put the deceased on the table or on the bench – head to the red corner, while he was in the house. According to the belief, it was in the red corner from 3 to 40 days that the soul of the deceased stayed, leaving the body. In addition, during the funeral dinner, they put an extra dishes with food in the red corner.
Arranged in the far corner of the hut, on the east side, the Red corner was in the space between the side and facade walls, diagonally from the stove. It was always the most lit part of the house: both walls forming a corner had windows. Icons were placed in the “red” or “front” corner to be the first one that the person entering the room paid attention to. The popular proverb “Without God there’s no threshold” describes the tradition most of all. When entering or leaving the room or at home, the Christian first of all rendered honors to the Heavenly King, and only then to the master of the house.