Greek Wedding Traditions and Customs
Weddings are a delightful representation of cultural, regional, and religious conventions around the world. The beauty of Greek weddings lies in their flawless combination of orthodox church traditions and Greek cultural customs. From the way they get ready to the way they share the dance floor with their guests, newlyweds keep centuries-old Greek traditions alive in a number of ways. If you're intrigued by Greek wedding traditions, then read along for more!
According to the Greek orthodox tradition, setting a wedding date serves as a lucky charm for the future married couple. Traditionally lucky wedding months are January and June, due to their holiness in ancient Greek mythology. Hera, wife of Zeus and goddess of marriage and fertility, is associated with both months, and January is officially dedicated to her.
Similarly, specific dates must be avoided in the greek orthodox tradition. In Greek culture, weddings should not be held:
- 40 days before Easter
- In the first two weeks of August, which are devoted to the Virgin Mary
- On August 29, which is the death anniversary of Saint John the Baptist
- On September 14, which is the celebration of the Adulation of the Holy Cross
- 40 days before Christmas
Decorating The Wedding Bed
Friends and family gather to fulfill the ritual of making the wedding bed for the bride and groom. Only unmarried women can participate in this ritual. The groom decides the final look of the bedroom decoration, and if he doesn't like it, he can ask for it to be redone. The wedding bed is decorated with rose petals, money, sugar-coated almonds, and rice. All these decorations are symbolic of a wonderful marital life for the couple.
Dressing The Couple
The best man and the maid of honor play a pivotal role in grooming and dressing the couple. This tradition holds a lot of significance in Greek weddings. It represents trust and loyalty between the couple and their best friends.
The best man is assigned two important tasks. He shaves the groom on the morning of the wedding day and then assists in dressing him. The maid of honor is responsible for the dress, jewelry, and makeup of the bride.
Symbols Of Good Luck
All the accessories the couple wears are symbols of good luck in the Greek tradition. A lump of sugar is also placed inside one of the bride's gloves to ensure a sweet and pleasant married life. Similarly, a piece of iron is placed inside the pocket of the groom's tuxedo to ward off evil eyes and spirits on the wedding day.
Odd numbers are considered lucky in Greek traditions as well since they cannot be divided. That is why the number of guests at a wedding is usually odd. An odd number of people must also be present at the altar during the wedding ceremony.
Lucky Number Three
The number three is a lucky number in Greek mythology. During the ceremony, the couple places their rings on their wedding finger’s tip, and the best man exchanges them three times to wish them good luck. Afterward, the priest blesses the couple three times.
The wedding crown, or Stefana, symbolizes the union of the two individuals as a couple. These crowns are also swapped back and forth above the couple's heads three times to strengthen their bond as newlyweds.
Greek weddings are enriched with ritual and holiness. The ceremonies steeped in Greek tradition aim to bring positivity and good luck to the couple's marriage.