Greek weddings, or gamos in Greece’s native tongue, have interesting traditions that you might want to experience for yourself. Greeks and non-Greeks alike have learned to love the gamos, this traditional ceremony that only Greece can offer.
Just like the usual weddings in the US and Europe, the groom waits for his bride at the church door. The moment the bride arrives, the groom passes on to her a bouquet of flowers. As the couple walk down the aisle, their guests follow behind them. At the gamos guests do not have designated seats and can sit wherever they want.
The traditional exchange of wedding rings is done during the Service of Betrothal. The priest blesses the ring and makes the sign of the cross over the gamos couple. The rings are then place on their middle finger (third finger) and are swapped between the bride and the groom’s hands three times. The swapping of the rings is done by the couple’s wedding sponsor the koumbaro.
A number of prayers are then delivered by the priest and guests during the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage. At the end of the prayer, the priest allows the bride and groom to join hands (instead of kissing) which symbolizes the couple’s first step towards an everlasting relationship.
The couple is then crowned with a stefana. The stefana are thin crowns with white ribbons joining them together. The priest blesses the crown and the koumbaro switches the stefana three times over the head of the newly weds. The crown symbolizes glory and the ribbons signify their union as a married couple.
The gospel is read right after the crowning ceremony. The usual reading is about Jesus first miracle at the wedding of Cana in Galilee. This is where Jesus turned water into wine and offered a drink to the couple. In the gamos, the newly weds are also given a wine that they have to drink three times.
The couple makes a ceremonial walk three times around the altar with the stefana still in their heads. The koumbaros follows to hold their crowns in place. The traditional showering of rice then takes place. This custom symbolizes prosperity for the couple’s family life. After the crowns are removed, the priest dramatically separates the couple’s joined hands with a bible. This symbolizes that God joined them together and only God has the power to separate their union after the gamos.
Gamos is not only a convent between the couple but a promise to God as well. As you may have noticed, during the gamos several rituals are done three times, this actually signifies God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which is also known as the Holy Trinity.
The history of Greece can get everyone excited. Not only is the country full of architectural gems and breathtaking sceneries, it also a place of wonderful people. That’s why gamos is a treat in itself. Being wed the Greek style is really something beyond compare.