Both the wedding and christening are considered very important ceremonies .
They were and still are-more and more rarely, it’s true- held separately, with the celebration often lasting for days so that the families and friends can really enjoy themselves and the occasion .
Since the Cretans pay great attention to tradition and family bonds, young couples consider it significant to have the approval of their family in order to get married. It is most important to have the approval of the father, to follow his advice and –in case of rejection- to obey . What usually follows is the engagement (where the couple is blessed by a priest) as well as all the necessary details and the setting of a date for the wedding.
When the time of the wedding ceremony is near , usually one to two months before, invitations are sent out to all friends and relatives to invite them to the wedding. These people usually escort the bride to the church singing traditional wedding songs , often drinking and feasting along the way.
After the ceremony all the guests go to the place designed for the wedding reception. It is traditional for the groom’s mother to “feed” the bride with honey and walnuts – a symbol that she wishes to have a “sweet” relationship with her and not fight.
There were many more interesting traditions regarding a Cretan wedding but most of them have- partly or totally- been abandoned . For example, financial arrangements were a very important matter to be arranged between the two families . There was also the matter of “doweries” , the whole set of household equipment, utensils, embroideries etc. which the bride and her relatives had prepared over the years for the equipping of her new household. Friends and relatives set off from the groom’s house and headed to the house of the bride with the accompaniment of folk music, singing, feasting, and even gunshots . They collected the “dowery” from the bride’s house and carried it to the groom’s house where the newly-weds traditionally lived. All these people were given special gifts for their help such as the elaborate round bread rolls made only for this occasion.
Both then and now, there is feasting, singing and dancing lasting well into the night, often till daybreak , or even all through the following day.