Greece: Our customs. WEDDING. WEDDING. Weddings have always been an opportunity for joy and dancing in Greece…. Many many years ago , this party involved traditional instruments…. The bride was dressed in the traditional costume of the region….
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The bridal bed is usually laid two days before the wedding. After this is done, the couple should not see each other until the wedding day.
The tradition suggests that young , unmarried women lay the white sheets on the bridal bed. This procedure is repeated several times, because the groom occasionally enters the room to undo the bed, claiming that he is not pleased with the result! In this way the atmosphere gets marrier and more lively, since it is accompanied with jokes and teasings!
It is customary that guests throw money , sugarplums and rice, symbolising financial blooming ,fertility and welfare for the couple.
A little boy or a little girl is then thrown on the bed, which symbolises that descendants will come soon. It is believed that if the child thrown on the bed is a boy , then the first baby of the couple will be a boy . If a girl is thrown, it will then be a girl!
The custom of “dowry” dates back many years ago ,but it has almost become extinct nowadays. Decades ago , dowry was very important and sometimes young women with no dowry were left unmarried . Dowry means everything from household equipment ( sheets , blankets , utensils etc) to land , animals and whatever made a girl rich at that time.
Some of the linen of the dowry were made by the bride , for instance tablecloths , curtains etc , which she had been preparing and knitting from a very young age.
In this way women were trained from an early age to become good housewives and it was a way to prove their contribution to the household.
The visit of the groom’s single friends called “Vlamides” takes place…..They bring the traditional “kouloura”, which is a kind of sweetbread bun, especially made and ornated for the occasion.
One “vlamis “ and the bride are trying to break the bun into two pieces. The one who gets the biggest piece is the winner and the Head of the house!
It is a very popular custom up to the present. The groom’s friends bring the bridal shoes to the bride . The bride tries them on , but she complains that they are a bit too big , and money notes have to be placed in the shoes in order to perfectly fit her ! The money that goes into the shoes is then given to the bride’s friends who helped in the wedding chores!
The groom’s friends are allowed to steal various items from the bride’s house . They may steal glasses , sheets , etc in order to take-as it is believed-the bride’s good luck to the groom’s house . Of course this is a fake stealing that everybody knows about , but the bride’s friends and relatives are on guard all the time , so as not to let anything out of the house , as the good luck has to stay in the house for the sisters of the bride.
The bride is getting ready with the help of her friends.
While the bride is getting ready for the church, too.her unmarried friends write their names on the soles of the bride’s shoes.At the end of the wedding day,they will have a look at the soles and see whose names have been erased,which means that they will be the next brides!
While the groom is getting dressed , some comfits are placed into his pocket . After the wedding they will be given to the unmarried girls ,relatives of the groom . On that night ,the girls have to put the comfits under their pillow and they will dream of the man they are going to marry , according to the tradition.
During “Isaiah’s Dance”, people throw rice to the couple for welfare and happiness…
There is a specific sequence on the persons who will dance. they will go through difficulties together.
The couple dance first
The Best Man
The Groom’s family
The Bride’s family
People pin money notes on the Groom and the Bride . This custom is gradually fading away , though.