The Customs and Traditions of a Typical Greek Wedding, Explained

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A very interesting article from https://greekreporter.com/
Ένα ενδιαφέρον άρθρο από την σελίδα https://greekreporter.com/

Greek weddings are festive events with many traditions stemming from both the Greek Orthodox church and from ancient cultural superstitions.

Although traditions vary from one village to another, as well as from different regions and islands, there are a few aspects of a typical Greek wedding that are universal across the country.

Many of these customs are steeped in ancient traditions that influence every last detail of the nuptials, from the engagement rings to the wedding ceremony and afterward.

Will you marry…my family?

If you have ever seen the film “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” you have a pretty good idea about how a Greek engagement goes. Traditionally, when Greek couples become engaged, they do so in front of their entire family.

Afterwards, there is a huge party and the families celebrate. Now don’t be confused when you see Greek couples wearing their wedding rings on their left hands as engagement rings and move those same rings to their right hands once married.

This placement stems from the belief that the right hand is the hand that God blesses, the hand to which Christ ascended, and the direction to which those who inherit the earth will go.

Nowadays, in modern fashion, you will sometimes see women sporting two rings, an engagement and wedding band.

In this case, the engagement ring must be placed on the right hand after the wedding band, as the wedding band should always be closest to the heart.

Setting the date for a Greek wedding

Setting the date for a wedding in Greece can have its complications. There are several traditional times of year when you should not — or simply cannot — hold a wedding ceremony.

Traditionally, the “forbidden” dates to get married revolve around religious holidays. For example, a couple wanting a summer wedding must account for the first two weeks in August that are completely devoted to celebrating the Virgin Mary.

Also, Greeks do not get married during the forty days preceding Christmas, nor the entire period of Lent, the forty day period leading up to Easter.

Also, many hold to the tradition of waiting one year after a close family member has passed away before going forward with the wedding, as a sign of respect in mourning the dead.

Some other holy days where weddings should not be performed are August 29th, which marks the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, and September 14th, which is the celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Making the marital bed before a Greek wedding

Another wedding tradition is the preparation of the wedding bed, which usually takes place on the night before the wedding.

The ritual is straightforward and doesn’t change much throughout the country, but has fallen out of fashion in many larger cities.

It begins with the bride’s mother and grandmother covering the bed with flower petals, coins, and koufeta (Jordan almonds) to ensure love, prosperity, and fertility.

In some cases, the bride’s attendants also help prepare the marital bed — as long as they are single women.

In some cases, a baby is rolled across the bed to guarantee fertility, and superstitions say that the gender of the couple’s first child is determined by the gender of the baby that is rolled across the bed.

Ready, set, shave

On the day of the wedding, the groom is shaved by his best man, or “koumbaro,” as a sign of trust between the two men.

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