Marriage Tradition in Cyprus
Marriage has its own history in Cyprus. Many years ago, the most common way to get married was through match-making. The marriage proposal was made by the groom’s family, and it was considered demeaning if it was made by the family of the bride. The match-making “season” was during Carnival and in the week before Lent.
The Wedding Process
Weddings were usually held on Sunday. However, the actual wedding process starts usually on previous Thursday with the bride’s friends helping her with the stuffing of the bridal mattress with hair. The mattress was then sewed and four crosses and four bells were placed at the mattress’s corners so that “the bride and groom will sleep the sleep of the blessed”.
When the mattress is completed, it is then taken to the bride-to-be house. Her entire dowry for the marriage was then placed in baskets and positioned where everyone could see it. On Saturday, seven of the bride’s friends will fill their baskets with corn and, having washed it, will take it to the bride’s house to prepare the wedding’s meal, or Resi, which is made of boiled corn and lamb.
Sunday: The Wedding Ceremony
On Sunday, the dressing of the bride begins at noon time. Her clothes are brought to her in baskets by her friends, while outside, the violinists will be playing “The dance of the clothes” at the end of which the dressing of the bride will begin in earnest.
The Wedding Venue & Beyond
When the bride is finally fully dressed, her mother is summoned to be beside her daughter during the last emotional moments before her girl left “home” to her new “home”.
The bride is then escorted to the church by her father, accompanied by music. When the wedding ceremony is completed, the couple are escorted to their new home.
The wedding party
The groom’s mother will be waiting in the house to cense the newly-weds and to give the groom a pomegranate to break, symbolising prosperity, success and strength.
Partying, with music and dancing, starts then. The bride and groom will dance the well known “The dance of the married couple” while the wedding guests will pin banknotes to the couple’s garments which was the habit of making gifts to the newly weds.