Greek Wedding Traditions

Ancient Greece is one of the most discussed civilizations primarily due to its amusing culture. It is said that multiple aspects of this classic civilization have a direct effect on modern Europe, and it is considered to be the cradle of the Western culture. The current wedding traditions in Greece are an epitome of rich values. Let us explore the trends which are distinct to this nation.

A Greek wedding is usually a one-day affair, where all the guests from both sides gather to celebrate the union between the bride and groom. All the guests make it a point to celebrate the happiness of the couple and to create such memories which will last a lifetime. While throwing light on the glory and honor of the Greek civilization, we discuss some of the gorgeous wedding traditions in Greece.

The Common Traditions of a Greek Wedding

Even the date setting needs to be done as per the Greek Orthodox wedding traditions since there’s an assumption that certain months bring luck to the marriage. There are two months that are packed with weddings — January and June. This tradition goes back to ancient Greece. As per Greek mythology, they are also connected to fertility.

Due to he contemporary Christian beliefs of the wider population, people try not to choose particular dates for their wedding celebrations In the Greek wedding tradition, religion holds a lot of importance so people respect old traditions and follow them in most cases.

Decorating the Traditional Greek Marital Bed

In most parts of the country, this custom has become outdated but some families still follow it wholeheartedly. Friends and family members prepare the bed of the soon-to-be-married couple and usually decorate it with flowers. People throw rice and money on the bed to bring luck and prosperity and roll a baby doll to symbolize fertility. Superstitious people believe that with this tradition people can predict the gender of the couple’s first child.

Koumbara and Koumbaro

Koumbara (woman) and Koumbaro (man) are similar to the maid of honor and best man. Specifically, they are the sponsors of the wedding and the truly responsible for all the arrangements. Both of them are the most important people in the couple’s life, who are also set to be the godparents of the first child.

Dressing Up

In the Greek wedding dress traditions, the Koumbara leads all the friends while dressing up the bride whereas the Koumbaro helps the groom in getting ready. There is a tradition to write the names of all single friend of the bride at the bottom of her shoes. Those, whose names by the end of the day have been worn off, would soon get married.

Incorporating the Good Luck

There are a few rituals which are performed by the traditional Greek people as to bring happiness and success to the wedding. By keeping a piece of iron in his pocket, the groom can be protected from the influence of evil spirits that might get especially aggressive on a lovely day of celebration. On the other hand, the bride will bring good luck to the couple by putting a lump of sugar inside one of her gloves. A gold coin inside her shoes will bring financial fortune for them.

The Greek culture also emphasizes the odd numbers by choosing an odd number as the wedding date or by inviting an odd number of guests. The number three is especially of huge importance in orthodox weddings as it represents the holy trinity. Some of the Greek wedding traditions and customs are rather odd, for example, spitting three times after congratulating the couple as this brings good luck supposedly.

The Wedding Rings

The wedding ceremony starts officially with exchanging the wedding rings. Right at the beginning, the Koumbaro exchanges the rings three times with the priest’s blessing. This is done to symbolize the everlasting love between the couple.

The Royal Stefana Crowns

Greek Wedding Traditions

Calling Stefana to be the focal point of the Greek wedding traditions would not at all be wrong. This is the official representation of the union of the two where wedding crowns are placed on the heads of the bride and groom. This is by far one of the most beautiful wedding traditions in Greece since the couple is considered the king and queen of the day.

Just like the ring exchange ceremony, the priest blesses the crowns three times and they are exchanged thrice before being placed on the heads of the newlyweds. This is the time when the two lovebirds are officially pronounced as husband and wife.

Common Cup and the Holy Candles

The couple is supposed to hold candles throughout the wedding ceremony. Either these candles are left at the church to burn down or taken home but they must be completely used and cannot be thrown away.

Another Greek wedding tradition involves the couple drinking wine from a common cup. They are supposed to take three sips each from the same cup and this is going to represent their rest of the marital life.

No Wedding Without Favorite Meals

Food is an essential part of the Greek wedding traditions as people simply love to eat and enjoy their food. Usually, the Greek Americans prefer a large selection of different courses; a few local dishes can never be missed out on the wedding menu. The most important dishes include Yuvetsi, which is a lamb or beef stew with orzo, a cheese pastry called Tiropita, and the sweetened pastry known as Baklava.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

As the wedding reception is in full swing, the Greeks cannot leave the dance floor. They enjoy the folk dances such as Kalamatiano and Zembekiko. The former is for the bridal party whereas the latter is enjoyed by the groom and his friends.

Smashing the Plates

The modern Greek wedding traditions have given up this ritual since it can prove to be dangerous. However, for quite some time, the Greek people have been smashing plates on wedding receptions.

Koufeta and Martyrika Giveaway

Once the Greek wedding ceremony comes to an end, the Koumbaros hand out the tiny lapel pin with a ribbon to the guests. The traditional colors are pink, blue, or white and there’s a small cross in the center.

An odd number of Koufeta, which are almonds in a sweet sugar coating, are given to all the guests. They are a symbol of purity and fertility. By accepting this gift, the guests endure the marriage and bless the couple.