Cypriot Weddings

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To Westerners used to the formal restrained often tense atmosphere of an English Wedding a Cypriot Wedding can seem a very strange affair.

The biggest cultural shock will be the numbers involved. A thousand people attending a wedding is quite common, three thousand people attending is not unusual. Everyone is invited. Formal invitations are not issued. Word gets out and everyone knows all about it.

The wedding will usually take place in the ornate splendour of a Greek Orthodox Church. If lucky the service will only last 45 minutes, though they can go on for much longer. The priest chants his way through the service, very reminiscent of Gregorian Chant.

The bride and groom will be garlanded with flowers. The priest and other participants form a circle with the couple in the middle and perform a dance around the couple.

The service is very informal, people wandering in and out and milling around within the Church.

Following the actual wedding is the reception. This usually takes place at one of the big hotels. It will start early evening and go on until late evening. There will be a steady stream of people arriving at the hotel as people turn up to pay their respects to the married couple and their parents.

On arrival the guests are greeted and given a small gift. This is usually a small piece of cake wrapped in wedding paper. The guests will then queue to greet the married couple. The couple greet the guests from a raised platform. Here they will remain all evening until the last guest has left. The parents may also be on the platform.

It is quite usual for the father to give his daughter a house as a wedding present. This may be on a separate bit of land or part of the parental home.

Many Cypriot men are now marrying girls from outside of the island.

It is the current trendy fashion for English couples to go to Cyprus to get married.

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(c) Keith Parkins 1996-2006 -- September 2006 rev 10