Koyletsh-tants (LKT)

This entry is part of the Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT). The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refer to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. By clicking on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation, you get the full reference.


“A dance of salutation to the bride and bridegroom performed by a woman holding a twisted white loaf and some salt to wish them abundance.” EncyJud 1971, p. 1265-66

“And there Reb Yosif let the groom stand with the bride. With a long, gold braided khaleh, which he held before them in the air with both of his hands, he dances in front of the groom [and] with the bride and the crowd claps their hands.” Fenster 1964, pp. 155-56.

“...the women’s dance (and especially the old women’s dance) before the bride with khales with lit candles usually inserted inside was known in most communities by the name ‘khale tants’ meaning ‘the dance with khales,’ [which] would be danced to accompany the bride and groom to their house or to the in-laws house immediately after the departure from the khupe.” Fridhaber 1972, p. 18

“When the bride and groom were led back [after the khupe], the klezmer were out in front of the wedding-house, to lead the couple in with music. One of the female in-laws went ahead and snatched from the hand of a watchman the large, specially baked... saffron-challah, and danced backwards opposite the couple.” [Kremenits, Poland, pre-World War II]. Gilernt 1954, p. 387

“After the khupe, according to Jewish custom, they led the joyful couple together on a full route, dancing opposite them with a large challah with a lit oil lamp in it.” [Frampol, Lublin, Poland, pre-World War II]. Kleydman 1966, p. 164

The Koilich-tanz: The bride and groom are greeted by a dancing woman holding salt and a twisted white bread to insure prosperity in the new home.” Lapson 1943, p. 461

“When the bride and groom returned from the khupe old women... dance against them with ‘bobe’ [old type of cake]... Hershl Danilevitsh (Poland) (Heri Daniels) in his collection of new paintings brings a portrait (#3) [of the]... ‘semeli dance with challah.’” Rivkind 1960, p. 31

“The dances after the khupe were sometimes included under the general name: khupe-dance... Everyone also dances specific dances, such as: ‘the challah dance.’ Already in the Metamim book [Sefer Metamim] the custom is brought, ‘that after the khupe old women danced facing the married couple with one challah in their hands...” Rivkind 1960, p. 31

“The fat Lithuanian mother-in-law went out in a dance before the groom and the bride, during which she holds in her hands a large... challah... This dance was widespread in Galicia.” Rivkind 1960, pp. 31-32

Koyletsh Tants: Bread Dance. A woman dances before the bride, holding a long, white braided bread in her hands.” Roskies and Roskies 1975, p. 232.

“Approaching the home of the bride, the mother or some other close relative comes out to meet the couple with a large, white, braided loaf lifted high in her arms. Turning and swaying in a dance, she hoists the loaf higher and higher, joyously shouting repeatedly, ‘Mazol Tov!’” [last decades of the nineteenth century]. Schauss 1950, p. 194

“In the ‘Koilitch’ dance, which also was performed at the celebration, the dancer holds a large chalah (loaf of braided white bread) to indicate that the newly-weds’ home would never lack food. Another dance was performed by a beggar who was especially invited to attend so that his presence would be considered as the bride’s and groom’s first act of charity.” Seid 1975, p. 14