Did You Know?Apart from seeking permission from the bride's parents before the wedding, the groom has to re-seek the permission of marrying her on the morning of their wedding day.
Before the wedding, an engagement ceremony is held, wherein the bride and groom exchange rings. In Greece, it is common that the bride's mother gives dowry (especially housekeeping items) on the wedding day. One significant feature of Greek culture is that the bride and groom do not exchange wedding vows, rather, they have a popular belief that the bride and groom stand in the church only after they are serious about marriage. Let's take a look at some popular and interesting wedding traditions of Greece.
Popular Customs and Traditions
Wedding GiftsBefore the wedding, the bride and groom invite their friends to their new house. It is a common tradition that the bride's single friends decorate the couples bed with candied almonds spread on it. Then, the relatives and guests present money and wedding gifts to the bride and groom, which is believed to bring them luck and fortune.
RingsWedding rings are blessed twice, first on the engagement day and second on the wedding day. During engagement, the priest will bless the rings, after which the bride and groom wear the rings on their left hands. As a part of the wedding ceremony, the weddings rings are again blessed by the priest and this time, the bride and groom wear it on their right hands.
Wedding CrownsDuring the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are adorned with crowns. While doing so, the crowns are exchanged three times as a part of the Greek ritual. The wedding crowns represent glory and honor. Usually the crowns are white or orange in color, designed with blossoms and/or vines. These crowns are joined with a silver ribbon that symbolizes the union of the couple. The couple wear these crowns till the end of their marriage ceremony.
Ceremonial WalkAfter the bride and groom are adorned with the wedding crowns, they walk around the church altar for three times. This ceremonial walk is important in a Greek wedding, as it symbolizes their first steps of life as a married couple.
Wedding DanceThere are two types of traditional Greek wedding dance viz. the Isaiah and the Kalamatiano. The former dance is performed only by the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony, and the Kalamatiano, on the other hand, is performed at the reception. In this, the bride and groom along with the guests participate and dance by forming a circle.
Wedding ReceptionImmediately after the wedding, candied almonds are distributed in odd numbers among the guests. The odd number signifies that the couple are united henceforth as one and cannot be separated. Candy-coated almonds are also a favorite in Greek wedding receptions. Wedding receptions are always associated with music and dance, and the guests are treated with special dishes and drinks.
Opa!This is the final and important custom in Greek weddings. It is the joyful and energetic shouting of 'Opa!' at short and frequent intervals to express their joy and happiness. It is a perfect expression of merriment and celebration.
On the wedding day, the bride and groom are treated as a queen and king. Till today, some traditional beliefs are still followed, like the bride carrying a lump of sugar so that her married life will remain sweet. The bride also wears a yellow or red veil that signifies fire, so as to protect her from evil spirits. A Greek wedding is always a lively event and a memorable time to cherish.