Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With over sixty tenanted islands, historic sites that span four millennia, idyllic beaches and soaring mountain ranges, there’s a wide variety of tourist attractions in Greece to explore. Greek culture is multi-faceted, multi-layered and take you back to the ancient time’s classical era. Hence, Greek Wedding Traditions are generally pretty unique, huge and full of joy, there are numerous ceremonies, each representing a specific meaning. Starting from save the date, wedding invitations, engagement, to the wedding ceremony to the reception, a Greek marriage ceremony symbolize beautiful and worthy rituals.
Fixed the Date: In the Greek Wedding Traditions, January was reserved for celebrating Hera, wife of Zeus and the goddess of wedding and fertility. Later, the Romans translated Hera to Juno and celebrate in the month of June. So if you choose either a January or June for a wedding, you will be getting married under the favor of Hera.
Engagement Rings: When Greek couples get engaged, they typically exchange engagement rings in the presence of their family. A party follows! Each partner gets a plain gold band to wear on the left hand to signal the engagement. (A big diamond solitaire for the woman only is not the Greek custom.) These are the same rings that the couple will wear as their wedding rings. The bands are blessed during the wedding ceremony, and then the couple switches them to the right hand.
Wedding Ceremony: The ceremony will traditionally follow the ceremonies and rituals of the Greek Culture. Specific elements include the crowns, the candles, and the common cup. The groom waits for the bride at the front of the church. He holds her bouquet, waiting for her. She is walking down the aisle by her father, presented to the groom, and handed the bouquet.
Wedding Crown: The crowns are called “Stefana” in Greek. A distinctive part of the Greek Wedding ceremony is the “crowning” which follows the joining of the hands. Two gold crowns are made and connected by a single strand of ribbon. This symbolizes the union of the two people into a single married couple.
The Candles: The bride and groom also hold candles during the ceremony. These symbolize the light that Christ symbolizes.
The Common Cup: The priest will pour wine into the “common cup” – that is, one single wine glass – and the bride and groom each take three sips from it. The wine symbolizes life, and the sharing of sips of it is symbolic of how the couple will share in life together.
Celebrating the Wedding: After the ceremony, it is time for a celebration! In the past, it was traditional at Greek weddings to smash and break plates. This was done to signify that it was a momentous occasion! Dancing is a major component of the celebration. There are two types of traditional Greek wedding dance viz. the Isaiah and the Kalamatiano. 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!
Each guest should leave with a small bag of Jordan almonds, or koufeta. There will naturally be an odd number of almonds in the bag – for luck!