Mazltov (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.


“With what sort of piece did the musicians start a wedding (mazltovdobranoč)?” Beregovski 1937 [= Beregovski/Slobin1982, p. 546]

“Music[ians]...  played mazltov (congratulations) in honor of each guest...” Beregovski/Slobin 1982, p. 301

Dobriden, dobranoč, mazltov -- these are the names of the pieces performed by the wedding band to greet the guests. These were performed for individual guests at the table...They played more solemn, large works for more honored guests, and smaller pieces for the rest. After the performance of such a piece they played a frejlaxs. No. 73 begins with a recitation of the badxn: ‘Lekoved hamexuten (his name), a ganc fajnem mazltov!’” Beregovski/Slobin 1982, p. 500, n. 71

“Dobranoč (mazltov).” Beregovski/Goldin 1987, #8, 10. (Musical notation included). 

“At a wedding someone greets the bride and groom and their in-laws through dancing. Everyone sits in a circle. At the words ‘mazl-tov’ he bows before those he is honoring.” Bernstein 1927, p. 94. (Musical notation included). 

“A mazltov (congratulatory tune), along with a dobriden (welcome tune) and dobranitsh (farewell tune), are pieces performed by the wedding band to greet the guests.” Bjorling 1996a, p. 42. (Recording references included). 

“‘Mazel Tov Freilach (Dance of Happiness and Good Luck’... If the bride is an orphan, the chazan now recites the prayer for the dead, ‘Mercifiul God, etc.,’ chanting it in the accepted mournful tone. The klezmorim after each sentence reply antiphonally in the same tone, accomapnied by floods of tears and the loud sobbing of the women, especially the bride.” [late nineteenth century]. Chochem and Roth 1978, p. 69. (Musicl notation and recording references included).         

“Non-metrical genres included wedding ritual tunes such as dobraden’, dobranoch, some of the mazltov tunes, kaleh bazetsen (in Belorussia), and opfihren di makhetonim.” Feldman 1994, p. 7

“Regarding the same ‘mazl tov’ dance that Gabriel Grod described in his list, we have now before us an additional description of the same dance, and it is identical to the first description. From here to the source of the ‘mazl tov’ dance’s name, its contents, and form. On this subject I have reached the conclusion that nothing there shows the definite form of this dance. It occurs frequently in Jewish dances, but as a phenomenon of an improvisational dance of the dancers who in this instance happen to be the mekhutonim (hence the name ‘mekhutonim’ in Grod’s account), the dancers...[were] encouraged by cries of ‘mazl tov,’ and from here appears the dance’s name...” Fridhaber 1972, p. 16

“‘And the klezmers are playing the mazltov melody [as the bride is led to the khupe].” [Gedara, Palestine, first aliya, c. 1910s]. Fridhaber 1992, p. 398

“[After the tenoim the whole town arrives to celebrate and] the in-laws go out with a mazl-tov dance...” [Ritova (Rietavas), Lithuania, pre-World War II]. Grod 1950, p. 35. (Musical notation included). 

“A day before the khupe is the groom’s feast... The rebbe... comes to welcome the groom. A mazl tov was played. First in honor of the in-laws, then in honor of the rabbis... Hassidim go into a karahod.” Litvin 1917, p. 4

“...After havdole another round of the festivities began with the rebbe distributing more cake and brandy. Next a mazl-tov was played in honor of the important guests... The price of honors and mazl-tov’n soars...” Litvin 1917, p. 7

Mazor 1974, p. 175 (#22). (Musical notation and recording references included).

‘“Mazel Tov #1 [A. Schwartz]’... ‘Mazel Tov #2’ [A. Statman].” Phillips 1996a, pp. 113-14. (Musical notation and recording references included).

“‘They are already leaving for the khupe, they are going’... The second part of the melody is from Meir Noy, as he heard it at Jewish weddings in Kolomeyke (nign ‘mazl-tov’)...” [Eastern Galicia, 1920s-30s]. Pipe 1971a, pp. 177-78 (#66), 311 (#66). (Musical notation included). 

“[After the bazetsns and badekns,] the bridegroom and all the males return to the house where they are lodged. Only the klezmorim and the badchon remain for the third ceremony, called ‘mazol-tov-dance’ or ‘kosher dance.’ The badchon calls aloud the name of each woman present, who then embraces the bride and completes a circle with her. The wedding guests are amused by this dance, but it is a great strain on the bride. Weakened by fasting the entire day, she grows dizzy with the continuous whirling to which she is subjected.” [late nineteenth-century]. Schauss 1950, p. 193

“[A] ‘mazl tov’ [is generally played] after the wedding ceremony...” Stutschewsky 1958, p. 42

“In small towns there was a custom that on the day of the wedding the klezmorim would call upon the homes of the relatives and their friends of the couple. First they played sad melodies that made the women cry, actually when the women saw the klezmers approaching they began to cry, then the klezmorim began to play some ‘mazl tov's. The klezmorim’s visits to the relatives houses continued all day until the “leading the bride” began... Every in-law would receive a special welcome (vivat)... ‘A nice and beautiful mazl tov’...  played by the klezmorim... [mazltov music included the] ‘mazl-tov’ dance after the tenoim... [and the ‘Good evening (dobranitsh) with mazl-tov.” Stutschewsky 1959, pp. 156-57. (Musical notation included). 

“The mazzal tov niggun [was a melody] which could be played, sung or danced on various occasions before the wedding ceremony proper or after it.” Vinaver 1985, p. 243 (#82-94). (Musical notation included). 

The wedding guests called ‘mazl tov’ and the couple went out hand in hand towards home with fanfare music and all of the crowd accompanied them. At the same time, the old women danced a regn dance in front of the couple...” [Brest Litovsk, Poland, 1848]. Wengeroff 1913, I, p. 189

“Before night... the bride [sat] with the women in a separate room... The klezmer played a bazetsens, a sad melody, and the badkhn used to moralize out loud... Thereafter the badkhn would call the groom with the mekhutonim to the badekns. The groom would cover the bride with a veil...After the badekns, the mekhutonim with the groom returned to their first room, and then the women, all of them from the first to the last, went into a mazl-tov-tants with the bride, the badkhn called out names, and the klezmer would play along.” [Vilna, Lithuania, c. 1870s-80s]. Zizmor 1922a, p. 874

See Dobranotsh and Dobridzien.