The thought of a Greek wedding brings to mind joyous dancing and shouts of "Opa!" But there are deeply rooted customs behind these dances that, when combined with the many other traditions of Greek weddings, create a celebration of both the couple getting married and their heritage.
Greek Wedding Dances
Traditional Greek wedding ceremonies are governed by custom. There are traditions for the selection of the wedding date and even the foods served at the wedding reception. There are also traditions surrounding the dances that take place in both the wedding ceremony and the reception to follow. These dances are both symbolic and entertaining to the couple and the wedding attendees.
Dance of Isaiah
The first dance to take place during a traditional Greek wedding celebration is the Isaiah dance. This takes place during the wedding ceremony itself. Near the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom are led by the priest around the altar table three times to signify their first steps together as husband and wife. The entire process is symbolic; the circle in which the couple walks represents their eternal bond. This dance is usually accompanied by traditional hymns, but rice or flower petals may be tossed as well.
The kalamatianos is a traditional Greek circle dance. It is usually the first dance performed at the wedding reception. The kalamatianos is led by the bride and her maid of honor, or koumera, and traditionally includes women only at first. The entire bridal party eventually joins hands and dances in a circle. At many weddings, though, men are invited to participate as well.
The Money Dance
Another dance associated with Greek weddings is the money dance. In this traditional dance, the bride and groom dance together and guests take turns coming up and pinning money on the clothes of the couple. However, this tradition is sometimes replaced by younger couples in favor of more subtle gift-giving. In some wedding celebrations, there is also dancing before the wedding ceremony begins.
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