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Have you ever been to Santorini?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marriage in Oia

Do not hesitate to follow the merry companies and the musicians with the violins, if you should chance upon them. A wedding is taking place and what you are seeing is the so-called graximo of the groom. This boisterous crowd of friends and relatives, best-man (koumbaros) and maid of honour (koumbara) is on its way to the house of the groom, from where they go all together to the house of the bride. En route to her neighborhood, everyone is outside, in the courtyards and the narrow streets, pouring wine, exchanging wishes, singing joyful songs.
My groom, whom they bring from the street above,
everyone has come outdoors, even the sky with the stars.
Bride, with thunder and lightening, and drizzle and rain
May you have all the blessings of Christ upon you.
And from there, they go together with the bride to the church. In olden days the wedding crowns for the couple were made from vine branches, cut by the priest himself, from the vineyard, and twisted round into a hoop.
The bride’s girlfriends then take the hoops home, and wind them with cotton and decorate them with colored ribbons, gold threads and flowers, thus transforming these humble branches into diadems.
Today, after the marriage service in the church, the newly-weds come into the courtyard, where, in a pandemonium of riffle shots and fire-crackers, their families distribute sweetmeats and drinks to the guests.
The traditional Santorinian sweetmeat for weddings is koufeto, roasted almonds and honey, served on a platter from which the guests take a spoonful of the “toffee” and wish the couple all the best. As for the wine, a small glass of vinsanto makes the mouth utter sweet blessings.

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