Greek Island Wedding
From the time a baby girl is born , the mother prepares the dowry. The dowry includes all things to be found in a typical village home. Crotchet doilies, tablecloths and bed covers. Cut out linen, pots, glassware and icons of holy saints are all considered to be of the most importance. The father in turn works hard in order to provide a house for the bride. This custom has been the same for centuries.
Once the groom meets approval , the wedding to be follows certain traditions. The first and most difficult, was the Dowry Contract. It included all properties and or monies that were to be given to the bride on the day of the wedding. The contract was a legal document signed by the mayor, a priest and 2 witnesses. This custom although outlawed still exists in some remote villages.
The remaining customs building up to the wedding are all full of fun. One week before the wedding the “MELAKOUNI” , a sesame and honey bar, was made. Each side made their own melakouni, music, dancing and food was offered in appreciation to all the relatives that partook in the candy making . The melakouni was wrapped and offered to the guests after the church ceremony.
Next comes the KLAOUTHIE, which is again held separately by the grooms and brides relatives. All the single girls have the task of making the Klaouthie, a buttery buscuit that kneaded and rolled out into long thin strips and then baked the following day. During the preparation of the klauthie the girls receive money from the friends and relatives. The baked biscuit is broken up and put into little bags together with different peanuts and a few candies. These gift bags are offered to all the people that bring either gifts or even just wishes for the future couples happiness.
Two days before the wedding is the ‘making up of the krevatie(the marriage bed)
Both sides of the family get together in the brides new home , where all the dowry is displayed for everyone to admire. The marriage bed is made using the best white embroidered linens and again by all the single girls (none of which is an orphan, as that was considered bad luck). Songs are sung that are usually made up of rhymes and tell the history of both families. The songs usually calls on different relatives to come and “throw” good wishes on to the couple, meaning gold coins and or money. Then sugared almonds and rice are thrown onto the bed for fertility.
The wedding day sees both parties dressing in separate homes where the relatives of opposite families adorn the bride and groom with gifts of gold jewellery and , or flurie(gold coins). While the bride and groom dress in their wedding finery the houses are filled with traditional folk music played by an accordionist and or violin player. The wedding parties proceed to the village center where they dance a folk reel and on to the church , where once again they will dance three folk reels. The bride and groom do not partake in the dancing. The groom enters the church first and the bride is taken to the altar by the priests. The stefani(*headbands) , and rings are exchanged three times . The priests walk the couple and koumbari (bestmen/women) around the alter also three times.
The three is symbolic of the Christian belief in the father , the son, and the holy spirit.
Once the wedding service is completed, the bride and groom greet each of their guests and outside of the church the melakouni and bobonieries (usually a tiny ornament together with sugared almonds wrapped up in tullie), are handed out.
The wedding feast takes place right after the church service. Greek folk dances,
traditional Greek food, ouzo and wine are all part of the celebrations. In days gone by , the men where normally the only guests present at the feast
From : Kosta Maria Christina (Maria Christina Saranti )
Translation : Kosta Emanouela (Manie Zanaki )
Accommodation in RHODES Island
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