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Peloponnese | Ilia

Wedding Traditions

Bridal sheet, with polychrome embroidered decoration. Epiros, Yannena, 18th-19th c.




Before the Wedding ... Tradition in Greece is to have your “Bed” made before you actually sleep in it with your new spouse.  During this ceremony, the bed is “made” with hand-knit linens and then adorned with Koufetta – almond candies, rose petals and, of course, money from friends and family for good luck.  In many Greek villages, they gently roll babies on the bed to insure fertility.  This ceremony is usually followed by a light meal and drinks.  We can do this right in your hotel room the day before the ceremony, or during the morning of the ceremony, together with a lovely brunch. You can also purchase the handmade blanket used on your wedding night to have as a keepsake of this memorable ceremony.

When attending a Greek wedding, guests might wear a small “Eye” to ward off evil and keep the Bride and Groom protected from bad luck.  You will see these for sale all over Greece.

Greek Brides often put a lump of sugar in their glove for a “sweet” marriage.

In Ancient Greece, Brides often carried Ivy at the weddings as a symbol of their never-ending love.

Traditionally, during medieval times, the bride was abducted from her home and village by force. To do this, a large expedition was formed, led by the groom, which attacked the bride's home so as to kidnap her. The reason for this was biologically based in theory.  Since villages were remote from one another, and since each village was basically inhabited by one extended family, the incursion by an expedition from another village literally brought "new blood" to the gene pool, assuring stronger and healthier offspring.  In more modern times, however, due to the establishment of large cities and towns, creating a more mobile society, only a farcial re-enactment of the expedition took place. In this case, musicians played the central role of the bride and groom, and the bride's relatives were "bribed" to let the bride go, rather than to have actually have been defeated in battle. The whole ceremony was accompanied by special music and songs specific to each individual community (marriage songs, "tragoudia tou gamou"). The best of these songs eventually managed to spread throughout Greece and are considered to be fine jewels in our rich cultural tradition.

Nowadays, after the wedding ceremony, guests are offered bombonieres. These delightful gifts of sugar-coated almonds are wrapped in net and attached to a small memento of your wedding. And, by the way, another hallmark of modern weddings is the wild and deafening loud concerto of automobile horns before and after a wedding ceremony. You can smile when you hear this, since you now know the tradition behind it ... the bride has been abducted!!