Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Weddings in Greece are a lively affair. Although these days more and more people are choosing a less boisterous affair, I still like to take part in all the activities that go on. Firstly, families are always involved in the wedding of a relative, and if you live in a village, most of the residents become involved too. In the past, weddings were held with more than 800 guests, so as you can imagine, they were hold over the summer months, and usually in the streets. The women would spend the week before the wedding preparing various delicacies that would be eaten by guests popping in and out of an open house all week. The men would bring in the shopping, set out tables and chairs in the gardens, on the streets, and generally work a little and drink a lot while the did their bit. Although there are know halls available for great numbers of people, preparing for the big day has generally not changed...lots of eating and drinking, and generally being merry. The Wednesday before the wedding is the day the bride invites her relatives to get the dowry ready. For those of you who do not know about dowries, basically they are made up of the linen for the new couple's home, which the bride's mother has collected over the years, while waiting for her daughter to marry. The bride's sisters, friends and cousins separate the linen and tie it up in small parcels with colourful ribbons and again people arrive to gaze upon the beautiful bedding, the handmade tablecloths, the colourful towels, the expensive carpets that are all set up in one room for all to see. On Thursday, the groom's family arrive and collect the dowry. Now this is not the same in all regions, but in this part of the country, the dowry is taken from the bride's home (where tradition calls for various other things to be discreetly taken also) to the new couple's home where everything is put into place. The bed is made by single girls, who strip the bedding which the groom's mother placed, and make it with the bride's new set. Then rice and money are thrown onto the bed, and a young child is usually placed on the bed so that the couple may quickly bear their first child. Then there is more ....eating and drinking. Friday is usually the day the groom's family arrange to take the wedding to the bride. It is usually the groom's best friend who carries the dress through the streets to the bride's home, where he and other members of the family dance with the wedding dress, before handing it over to the bride. He is also responsible for taking the bride's underwear, make up and shoes to her on the day of the wedding, placing the shoes on her feet before she leaves for the church. The merriment continues on the night before the wedding, and as most weddings take place on Saturday here, both families usually have a dinner party for their guests after the handing over of the dress. The day of the wedding is chaotic (not that the other days are less of a panic) More people in and out of the house all day...to see the groom dressing...to see the bride getting ready...generally to take part in the couple's happy day. Hairdresser's, make up artists, friends, parents, relatives hover around the soon to be couple and as the deadline approaches, more and more people arrive. The groom awaits his bride at the church steps, and a local tradition is for the bride to ascend, showing her groom that she accepts her position as the one who will follow and not lead....(nowadays the groom usually meets her halfway). The holy ceremony comprises of the best man uniting the couple by witnessing and aiding their joining together, and when they ceremony is over, the couple and their immediate families stand in line as all the guests congratulate them. As you can imagine, if there are hundreds of guests, this can be very time consuming. After all this, the party starts, and everyone gathers to dance traditional dances, depending on where they are from, and generally eat and drink to the health of the newlyweds.
Although I have described a typical Greek village wedding, maybe you would like to get married in a Greek church, of course without all the traditions we have, but with my help...if you are interested please contact me at allgreek1.gmail.com....