The wedding date!
According to Greek Orthodox tradition, there are dates during the year that are considered good luck and others that should be avoided at all costs.
Dates that should be avoided at all costs include:
- The first two weeks of August. These are devoted to the Virgin Mary.
- Lent, the 40 days before Easter.
- August 29, which marks the death of Saint John the Baptist.
- September 14, which is the celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
- Anytime in the 40 days leading up to Christmas.
January and June are considered good months for marriage. In ancient times January was the month dedicated to the wife of Zeus and the goddess of marriage and fertility – Hera. June became a special month after the Romans translated Hera to Juno and dedicated the sixth month of the year to her.
The marital bed
Friends and family members come into the soon-to-be-wed couple’s home to prepare their bed! Some families still go through the ritual of making up the marital bed, while others think this could be considered an outdated tradition.
The superstitious believe the newlywed’s first baby will be a girl or boy, depending upon which they place on the bed!
Dressing the couple
The koumbaro or best man will shave the groom on the morning of the ceremony to signify trust. Then the close friends step in to help to dress him.
The koumbara or maid of honor leads the bridal party to the bride to help her get dressed and ready for the ceremony.
The names of all of the single ladies are written on the bottom of the bride’s shoes, and tradition has it that the names that are worn off by the end of the reception will soon get married.
The koumbaro and koumbara will go on to become the godparents of the couple’s children.
Symbols of good luck
Placing a lump of sugar inside the bride’s glove is said to ensure a sweet life, and adding a gold coin to the inside of her shoe will bring good financial fortune.
Iron is said to ward off evil spirits throughout the day. So the groom should put a piece in his pocket!
Couples invite an odd number of guests and invite an odd number of attendants to stand beside them as odd numbers are considered good luck. Odd numbers cannot be divided!
The number three representing the holy trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is especially symbolic.
A tradition dating back to ancient times is to spit after offering congratulations or compliments to the couple. Today guests mimic ‘the act’ of spitting – blowing a puff of breath through pursed lips. Due to the rule of threes, ‘spitting’ three times brings greater luck.
During the ceremony: Blessing the rings.
Continuing the tradition of three, at the start of the ceremony, the couple places the rings on the tips of their wedding fingers, and the Koumbaro will exchange them three times. The priest will then bless them three times.
Candles and the Common Cup