Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's With Mr. Milk - Cyprus Wedding Traditions

Someone once said that it's easier to find a wife in Cyprus than it is to book a venue. Laugh all you want but our experience this past August confirms that! Chocolate Lover, in an earlier post, discussed our frustration with the fact that EVERYTHING was booked two years in advance! Regardless, we were still able to secure a beautiful venue and we are both super excited about it. I thought I'd provide everyone with more information on the wedding business in Cyprus and some of the traditions that have carried through to today.

Back in the day, weddings in Cyprus villages used to go on for three days. One could write a book about the hundreds of traditions and rituals that took place, from the preparation of the bride and groom's bed to the parading around the village. Quite a few of these traditions remain to date, albeit in a more modern form. To give you an example, the mentality behind holding a village wedding stemmed from the belief that the community should pull their resources together and help a young couple to a healthy start of their marriage. Although I've never had the privilege of observing an authentic Cypriot wedding, I am assuming that the general buzz in the village every time someone got married can be described to the 4th of July celebrations in the United States, only extending from the 3rd to the 5th!

Pulling their resources together. What does that mean? The barber would give the groom his haircut and the best man would shave him. The village seamstress would help with the sewing of the bedspread and the couple's clothes. Everyone would pitch-in one way or another and the village musicians (a violinist and a "laoutaris" [traditional Cypriot instrument resembling the Greek bouzouki, but not quite]) would play all sorts of songs, each one appropriate to the individual ritual. But the biggest deed of kindness came the night of the wedding when the couple danced for the first time. The entire village (and I mean hundreds of people) would pin money (the highest currency bill of the time) on the bride and groom, as a way of generating enough wealth for the newlyweds to invest in their household (the actual house was usually courtesy of the bride's parents) and their soon to be born children.

Well, to no one's surprise, if there is one tradition that has been preserved, it's definitely the money dance. These days however instead of dancing around in a sea of Euros, most people bring their "contribution" in a smal 2"x3" evnvelope along with their business card. The exchange happens as the couple greets their guests at a reception style venue, and typically the best man, hiding behing the couple, grabs the little envelopes and throws them in the money bag. If you find this very shocking then brace yourself. I just discovered that a particular bank is now offering an online money transfer specifically tailored to wedding gifts!

So to those wondering, no, there is no registry system in Cyprus yet. In typical Chocolate Lover fashion I shall pass the question to you: Do you prefer cash or gifts by registry?

Untill next Friday this is Mr. Milk, sigining off. 

13 fabulous blogger's comments:

Lindsay said...

Hi there! Can't wait to really get in to your blog - I *love* reading about wedding stuff! Hubs and I got married last October and I really, really miss wedding planning :)

Oh, aaaaand.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

And a Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest too!


mommytoalot said...

Stopping by from SITS...although you were not in front of me on blog roll..i wanted to stop bye..i love the name of your blog.
Happy Sits Saturday sharefest!!
and a very happy birthday

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest.

I've been married for years but I still love hearing other people's wedding plans. Also, I write a design blog and and love to see the color palettes, centerpieces, cakes, etc.

I just found a great event planning site the other day that you might want to check out:

I really loved some of her ideas for centerpieces, but she talks about make-up, hairstyles, favors. All kinds of good stuff.

Chef Eureka said...

Happy Sharefest Saturday.... Happy Birthday! and Congratulations on the upcoming nuptuals! :)

Yay for you. *does a happy dance*

I like gifts :) yay for presents they are so much more fun to unwrap. When you have cash, you tend to just spend it on bills and shopping and stuff... and it goes right out the window :)

elvira pajarola said...

absolutely adorable and lovingly modern your writing; styling of your blog and your recipes I HAVE TO DISCOVER!!!!!
Thanks for looking at my TUSCANY and see you soon!!!
ciao elvira

Anonymous said...

In our part of the country, some couples have asked for money in lieu of gifts. That has not gone over very well among the age group of the parents. We think it a big cheeky!

I do think that if it becomes on-line, it becomes so much less personal.

love lives in the kitchen said...

i love the way you tell your stories and love to read about the wedding stuff! great post.
have a lovely Monday!

...::Mrs. Southern Bride::... said...

Cash, definitely. Or gift cards! :) But, I was happy with anything!

B said...

Hi, just wanted to say "thanks" for popping over to my part of the bloggy world! Love your blog; wedding planning is so much fun!

B x

Lisa Anne said...

Visiting from SITS, your blog makes me want to get married. I can't even imagine planning a wedding. i can't wait to read more of your wedding post, so if I ever do get married I'll know what to expect.

Anonymous said...

Wow that sounds like quite the party.

PS Thank you for stopping by on my special day!

Charlene said...

Greetings from SITS! I want to say gifts but honestly, cash is better. Registering has a drugging effect which makes one think for a moment that one needs a crystal wine decanter. Then after the wedding, you have the decanter and three (of a set of 10) wine glasses, but no nice bath towels. JMHO! I just posted the story of my proposal and wedding - stop by if you wish! :-)

Amber Page Writes said...

Well, I've been married almost 11 years, but I can tell you the cash we got sure came in handy!

Although opening presents is fun too.

Love your blog...found ya on SITS!