Armenian Wedding Traditions: Every Curious Detail Revealed
If you are looking to follow all the Armenian wedding traditions, you have arrived at the right place. The Armenian culture is amongst the most successful in preserving its rituals over the centuries, and wedding celebrations are no exception.
As matter of fact, from the moment of the engagement, which usually takes place a year before the wedding date, many colorful Armenian wedding customs take place. Do you want to know everything about Armenian weddings? Let's start from the beginning.
The Khosk Kap
To propose, a guy should go to the prospective bride’s house, accompanied by his close relatives in a celebration called “Khosk Kap”. During the proposal, it’s customary to serve tea for everyone, but the beverage can only be drunk once the oldest man of the bride's family accepts the proposition.
Usually, during this first meeting, the groom's family brings chocolates, Armenian cognac, flowers and other gifts for all attendees.
The Engagement Ceremony: Armenian Wedding Traditions
In the following weeks, they usually celebrate an engagement party where the soon-to-be-married couple will receive the first blessing from their priest. From this time on the happy couple will begin to use the ring in their right hand until the wedding day in which they will start to wear it in their left hand.
Traditional Armenian weddings require that the bride’s family pays for the engagement ceremony while the groom’s family covers all the wedding expenses. Families take up to a year between the engagement celebration and the wedding day to plan every detail thoroughly.
The Bridal Gown
Wearing a red silk dress and a green dove-like crown is among the most ancient Armenian bridal customs. However, nowadays Armenian brides go for a more contemporary western style and wear a white dress and a golden crown.
On the wedding’s eve, the groom’s relatives bring the bride all the details she might need on her big day: accessories, the veil, and other items to emphasize her beauty.
The veil, which is a fundamental element to ward off bad luck, is placed on the bride’s head by her bridesmaid or a relative who is happily married as an omen of happiness and abundance.
The Bride's Shoes: Meant for More Than Walking
Bride's shoes are so important that they deserve a place of their own in this list. Everything begins in the engagement celebration when a groom’s relative "steals" her wedding shoes to represent she’s becoming part of a new family.
The bride’s brother or cousin pays a ransom to get them back, and on the wedding day, he will be the one who puts the shoes on her feet. Surreptitiously, he places some cash inside of them to attract prosperity and bliss for the newlyweds.
Shortly before that, the bridesmaids write their names on the sole of the bride's right shoe. When the party is over, they will check the sole to find which names are still legible because that will be the name of the next woman to get married.
Symbols in Armenian Wedding Traditions
At the groom's house, not everything is about Armenian cognac, music, and kochari dancing. There are also traditional moments. For example, in the ribbon’s ceremony, the groom's mother places inside his coat a green ribbon representing happiness and a red ribbon as an omen of health and sacrifice.
A Life Together
As an Armenian saying puts it, a couple should grow old together on one pillow. This wish is a part of the guest cards, wedding vows, and even the decoration of the venue. It symbolizes the happiness of a lasting marriage full of love.
It's All About the Family
Traditionally Armenian family members play an essential role during the ceremony. For example, they prep the "block the door" as a reference to dowries. When the Groom comes looking for his bride, the bride's brother blocks the house’s door to him.
Centuries ago this performance required holding swords, nowadays they use firearms or act as disco bouncers. To obtain his brother in law’s permission, the groom must give him a valuable gift and offer him money until he’s pleased and allows the bride and groom to go together to the religious ceremony.
To Attract Good Luck
Breaking plates at the entrance of the celebration venue and at the newlywed’s house are some of the rituals performed to ward off evil spirits, and negative energies.
Also, while the couple is walking out of the church, two pigeons are released, representing their happiness and love, simultaneously the bride and groom are bathed with flowers and petals by their families. In a similar ritual, the Shabash, family members throw money to the newlyweds when they perform their first dance together.
The Coronation of New Love
During the ecclesiastic ceremony, Armenian couples are crowned, and the priest brings their heads together symbolically asking them to build a solid relationship based on communication and mutual understanding. The crowns mean that from now on they will be King and Queen of their new home.
Have you been to a wedding like this? What is your opinion on the Armenian wedding traditions that we have listed? There is one thing you can definitely be sure about — you will remember this wonderful celebration for the rest of your life!