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Greek Wedding Traditions

Posted April 23, 2010 by in Articles | Comments Off

Each culture has its own unique customs and practices and when it comes to the celebration of the wedding, culture tends to have a great influence on the outcome of the occasion. This is very true for the Greek culture and you will find that the Greek Wedding becomes an extremely important day in the life of a young Greek couple wishing to marry. What is it, therefore, that makes a Greek Wedding so different to other weddings?

Here is what tends to happen once a couple decides that they want to live in a married relationship for the rest of their lives.

Engagement – The engagement is where engagement rings are exchanged and this ceremony becomes almost as binding as the wedding ceremony. There is generally a big celebration that follows the engagement.

The Dowry is not unique to Greek culture, but nevertheless, it is still considered to be a big part of the marriage ceremony.  Though antiquated, it is still followed closely by the Greeks.  The Bride’s mother will collect the Dowry and will include a range of items such as: linen, curtains and anything else that the Bride and Groom will need to collect for their own house.

The wedding date tends to be organized immediately after the engagement. As we all know, it can be difficult to secure a venue, so the quicker things are organized, the better. In Greece, most weddings are held on a Sunday, even though there is no restriction on which day to marry.

Apart from a white wedding dress, the traditional Greek attire will also include a yellow or red veil. This veil represents fire and are believed to protect the bride from evil spirits and demons. Additionally, a lump of sugar must be carried to ensure that the bride will have a sweet life. Ivy is also carried as a symbol of endless love.

Interestingly, a few days before the wedding, relatives will visit the bride’s home to watch a boy and girl sieving flour. Throughout this whole process, silence is strictly observed and when enough flour has been sieved, those waiting and watching can throw coins into the sieve, while yelling many wishes of good luck to the couple.

Meanwhile, the groom gives away bottles of wine to his relatives and friends together with a letter inviting them to attend the wedding. The father of the bride also sends wind for his friends and relatives. By Saturday, the bride walks around the village to invite her friends and give them sweets.

The Beginning of the Wedding:

The procession begins at the house of the groom where the wedding flag is located. Then the wedding flag bearer goes in front to lead everyone over to the house of the bride. Then the would-be mother-in-law serves the groom some herbs and wine for his lapel. As soon as he drinks the wine, the bride leaves the house and goes to the church clinging on the arm of her father while the rest follows her to the church.

Wedding Rings:

The rings used for the engagement are the same rings that would be used for the wedding rings. These rings blessed by the priest twice. The first is during the couples’ official engagement. The second is when the priest blesses the rings and as the couple wears the rings from their left ring finger to their right hand at the wedding ceremony.

Crowns:

 While the ceremony takes place, the couple is crowned with thin crowns, or “stefana”. Their crowns are connected by a single stranded white ribbon. This is to signify the glory and honor that is being bestowed on them by God. This also symbolizes their unity as a couple and indicates the pair’s “rule” over their household.

Other Greek wedding traditions:

Although, these traditions are no longer widely practiced during weddings, they are still interesting traces of the rich Greek heritage.

• Rolling a baby on the marital bed is believed to encourage fertility.
• Throwing of money onto the marital bed also symbolizes luck and fortune for the couple.
• Pinning of money onto the bride and also the groom at the wedding reception is not solely Greek but is a tradition that invites fortune to rest on them.

If you have the chance to witness a Greek wedding, never hesitate to attend and be enthralled by the lavish traditions and symbols that depict the kind of value Greeks bestow on love and marriage.

 


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