The Sovetskaya Gavan and Vanino districts in western Siberia, Russia has an ethnic tribe called Orochi. The people are also known as Nani, which in the local language means “indigenous people”. Like many other tribes, at the beginning of the new year, the Orochi tribe also has their own new year custom.
Exchanging spouses to avoid bad luck?
They devised the custom of creating fake couples to avoid bad luck. The purpose of this custom is for these fake couples to catch all the bad luck for the real family in the coming year. This process is prepared days before entering the new year.
The names of all Orochi couples in each village will be gathered. A village council was established, consisting of the elderly, overage, unmarried women. These powerful women have the right to prescribe who the fake couples in the new year are.
The husband of one family will be selected to pair with the wife of another family and vice versa. His wife will also be paired with another man. I.n.t.e.r.c.o.u.r.s.e between the fake couples is not forced, but it is understood as a welcome act.
Does it affect the real husband and wife’s relationship?
The Orochi attach great importance to family and legal marital relationships. However, as this is a long-standing custom, spending the night with fake wives and fake husbands on New Year’s Day does not bother them at all.
The Drokpa tribe with a population of about 2,500 people, living in 3 small villages of Dhahnu, Darchik, and Garkun in Ladakh also exists the custom of “exchanging” wives. The husband has the right to “exchange” his wife freely with others without regard to the marital relationship. However, since it was banned by the government, this custom is more restricted.