Marriage traditions and customs
History Of Greece
Name day celebration :
Most Greeks are named after a religious saint. A very important tradition is that everyone who has a name coming from a saint celebrated by the church celebrates his name on a given day of the year. On the "name day" of someone, his friends and family visit him without invitation and offer wishes and small presents. The hostess of the house offers pastries, sweets and hors d'oeuvres to the guests. In Greece, name days are more important than birthdays.
It is a custom in Greece to get engaged before get married. The man has to ask for the hand of the woman from her father and close family, while the two families give presents to bride and groom. The couple exchanges wedding rings that are worn on the left hand. After the wedding, these rings will be worn on the right hand. In Greece, the engagement period may last for years and it is like a commitment to the families. This custom is still vivid in the Greek mainland, while gradually it tends to disappear.
Traditional Greek wedding ceremony:
The bride and groom stand before the altar table facing the priest. After performing all the prayers, the priest then blesses the rings and the best man places them on the right ring finger of the groom and bride. Best man is known in Greece as “Koumparos” (male) and “Koumpara” (female). He/ She exchange them three times between the couple, symbolizing that their lives are entwined forever. The priest will seal the rings on their finger by chanting a pray and placing his vestment over their crossed hands. Once the couple is crowned, Bible readings will be chant about the responsibilities and duties of marriage. The bride and groom drink red wine from the same cup and eat honey with nuts from the same spoon, which signifies that the couple is ready to share happiness and sorrow together. The red wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ. Then, the priest will lead the bride and groom around the altar table three times while he is holding the Bible in his hands. In Greece it is called “The Dance of Isaiah” and symbolizes that the couple will follow the Word of God as they start a new life while the circular dance represents the eternity of a marriage, there is neither a beginning nor an end. During the “Dance of Isaiah”, the guests throw rice and rose petals to the couple to wish them a happy and long-lasting marriage.
After the ceremony, it is time for a celebration! In the past, it was traditional at Greek weddings to smash and break plates. Dancing is a major component of the celebration. One of the major dances is called Kalamatianos, where the dancers come together, dancing to traditional rhythmic music. They move in a circle, holding hands, and rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. The last dance of the night is reserved for the bride and groom to do together. Guests come up to them and pin money to their clothes. Another way for the couple to make some cash involves cutting up the groom’s tie and selling off the shreds to the guests.
Traditional Wedding Attire
Traditional Wedding Food
A wedding is always a celebration, and for Greeks it must include a big feast.
Koufetta is a key to any wedding celebration. These are bittersweet fresh almonds - symbolizing that marriage has both good and bad in it. Usually the ones for weddings are coated with sugar, to hope that the couple has more good than bad!
First, the wedding bed is sprinkled with these. Next, guests are given odd numbers of these in bags - odd to show that they can't be divided up evenly (i.e. that the couple is now indivisible). Unmarried women who save them to put under their pillow will dream about their own future husband.
They are very popular with various decorations on them. The wedding cake itself is usually created with honey and quince. Other bread fun is often common - the bakers hide coins and even rings in the bread, and as they're eaten in pre-wedding festivities, it brings good luck.
- Greek salad of crisp romaine lettuce with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, imported Kalamata Olives and Feta cheese tossed in red wine vinaigrette and virgin olive oil
- Rolls and butter
- Athen’s stuffed leg of lamb with pepperocini peppers served with red wine rosemary jus, herbed rice pilaf and roasted vegetables
- Chicken Souvlakia skewers served with herbed rice pilaf and roasted vegetables
- Vegetarian Souvlakia skewers served with herbed rice pilaf and roasted vegetables