Ancient Greek wedding
The Cretan mysteries are perhaps the most ancient in the Helladic place, for the Minoan Crete substands the most ancient greek culture, culturally and religionally.
During Antiquity, wedding rituals, which lasted 3 days, were:
- Proavlia (before wedding),
- the main wedding,
- epavlia (after wedding)
Preparation, making of the wedding bread, (modern kouloura) was then as today, with rituals and divine offers. The bride, who abandoned her virgin former life, dedicated her personal belongings to Artemis. On the same day the bathing of the couple was taking place at each one’s father houses. Before the main day of the ritual, on behalf of every family the eilapine comes first: they are the official wedding dinners, that even today the parents make to the guests.
Early in the morning, the paternal houses were decorated with flowers, wreaths of olive, daphne and myrtle. At the main day, early in the morning, after the preparation and decoration of the groom and the bride, the official offerings to the family gods were made, and the legal sacrifices in marital gods. After the pass of sacrifices, and wishes, a great symposium was given, in the decorated house, with olive and daphne, of the father of the bride, with marriage hymns, dances and songs. The bride, who was decorated with a wreath in hair, and a cloth in her head, (peplos) went to the house of groom escorted with a parade, in late hours of the evening. They were holding torches in hands and were singing songs for marriage and the Ymenaion hymn (for the hymen). The reception of the bride and the entrance to her new house was being done from the groom’s parents with the katyxysmata: they were pourings with flowers, water, rise, figs, nuts and honey. The bride goes to the pastada, the wedding room, and then she takes off her peplos.
Epaulia (pr. Epavlia)
In the morning of the second day of the wedding, after the first night, which is called mystike (secret night), young men and women were singing the egertika songs (enthustiastic and uplifting) for the newly married couple. The wedding ceremony involved the formality, the donation of gifts, of dances and symposia (feasts). If the wedding was finished on the third day, which was the most common, the groom, by organizing a meal (dinner), was used to do all the customary offers and sacrifices to the family gods, in which the bride was taking part too, as a new member of the family. In several cases, though, the wedding ceremony was finished in the eighth day, (as mentioned by Aristotle), so this is when the last ritual was taking place. After that, the couple was visiting the house of the parents of the bride.
On the third day, the apokalypteria took place (the revelation) on which the bride appeared without her cover, in front of the friends, relatives and guests of the wedding as a married woman.
The admirers of the ancient greek culture will revive the ancient greek wedding in the most authentic way.