kichka

A Nekrasov Cossack bride being crowned with a kichka

The kichka is a traditional Russian bridal headdress historically worn throughout the southern regions of the country, namely the areas corresponding to modern Ryazan, Tula, Kaluga, and Orel. Its origins trace back to ancient times when female shamans would wear the horns of various animals as magical talismans. The length of the horns would represent status; the more elderly a woman was the longer her horns were and thus the more authority she had among her clan. The horns also represented fertility, and because of this eventually evolved into the horned kichka headdress worn by brides in more modern times. For many centuries the Russian Orthodox Church condemned kichka headdresses associating them with paganism, and because of this their use gradually declined. Despite this they were regularly worn by brides in certain regions of the country, such as Voronezh, until the 1950s.