The Cretan wedding

The Cretan wedding in the villages in the past and nowadays is a big event. We will try to give you a short description of this and how it takes place on the island of Crete.

Preparations begin several days before the wedding and the house of the bride gathers all the girls of the village to prepare the dowry or “proukia” as it is called in the Cretan dialect. During this preparation all say mantinades related to the happy event.

After that, the proukia are carried in procession to the house that will host the couple accompanied by lyre and lute songs. Then all together they arrive at the groom’s house, the unmarried girls prepare the bridal bed and throw money and rice to root this wedding . Throughout the decoration of the bed they also tell mantinades.  When it gets dark the relatives of the bride gather to say farewell with songs and serenades on the spot, some special for the occasion.

On Sunday afternoon the young men dress the groom, the bride is dressed by the girls and all are now ready to start the wedding. First, the groom goes to church accompanied by two young men, while the procession goes ahead with the lyre and the lute player, passing all together first from the home of the bride telling her mantinades. Then the groom enters the house , greets the bride’s parents after getting their blessing, he offers flowers to the bride and kisses her . Simultaneously gunshots are fired, which are an expression of joy and good mood for the wedding. Immediately after, this, they head for the church for the “crowning” as it is called .

When the ceremony finishes, everyone dances the dance of the bride and at the end of the wedding ceremony, the last person takes the bridal scarf for luck. Then, follows a stroll from the house of the groom to throw rice and flowers. When they reach the place, the bride takes honey from the mother in law and forms a cross over the door, symbolically, to have with her husband a sweet life. Then she tosses a pomegranate in the house for happiness and good fortune. The couple now comes home with mantinades and music .

Then follows the wedding meal with the well-known gamopilafo, spaghetti with anthotyros and boiled meat, all traditional Cretan dishes and feast with dances and songs, always accompanied by the lyre, until the early morning hours.