Page 2 - "Three Ouzo´s and a wedding"

The wedding
Although the wedding in the church was planned for 5 o'clock there was much to do and see beforehand. Traditionally the bride baths and dresses in her mother's house. The hairdresser arrives, someone applies her makeup, her mother and sister, female friends and relatives are all welcome there to give support. Mägi was invited and I waited outside drinking a beer. It's now 3 o'clock.


Paneotis said we have to be at his house at 3.30 p.m. We have no idea what's going to happen or what we have to do. When we arrive at the house of his parents, there are many friends and relatives - mostly men - waiting outside in the street. A woman pins a small flower onto our jackets. This is an important point for later.
What happens now is interesting! Paneotis, the bridegroom is sitting inside his parent's house on a chair, his best man standing beside him holding Paneotis jacket. Two musicians sit alongside - one with a drum and one with a violin. The room is full of women, whilst all the men are outside in the street drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.
The musicians begin to play a repetitive melody and the mother sings: "My son Paneotis is getting married. I hope he gets a good wife".
Now the rest of the women in the room sing: "I hope he gets a good wife".
The mother sings: "He is a good religious boy, he's never been in any trouble".
Now the rest of the women in the room sing: "He's never been in any trouble".

It was explained to us that they sing traditional wedding songs from the village but also improvise a lot. The women take it in turns to sing something about the bridegroom and they sing, and they sing, and they sing, and they cry, and they sing, and they cry. At this point in time the same thing is happening at the brides house.
All this time, the men are outside, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. The best man is still holding the jacket. Paneotis is given a Coca-Cola from time to time. He sits there, very sternly and tries his best not to be amused. One by one the male relatives, grandfather, father, brother, uncle, cousin, friends come into the room, kiss Paneotis on both cheeks and put money into the sleeve of the jacket that the best man is still holding. This must be a tradition as I noticed the sleeve of the jacket was pinned together underneath so that the money wouldn't fall out.
Women arrive from the bride's house. I can't really give you the reason but probably to see what time the bridegroom will be at the church. They have no sense of time and it is already five minutes to five. There is no way we can get to the church on time. Nobody seems to care!
I am invited inside the house to unpack the sleeve and count the money and have a Whisky. Paneotis doesn't seem in any way eager to go to the church at the moment.

Many Drachmas and three Whiskies' later he decides it's time to get married. We start to walk through the village down to the church with Paneotis and his family at the front. His mother and the other women start singing again until we get down to the square.
Afandou square is already filled with the bride's family and friends. The two families' form a big circle and still singing, start to dance. There is no way now that a car can drive through the square. The people turn off their engines, get out and enjoy the celebration. As the bride has not yet arrived we have time to drink a coffee at one of the bars in the square. At last the bride arrives but with so many guests the church is too small. This seems to be normal and people go into the church and come out, have a coffee, go back into the church and come out again and have another coffee. The ceremony in the church is very special. The church is full of lights and very richly decorated. As someone later told me, when you get married in Greece, you really know you're married! Leaving the church we were given a small wedding cake and a packet of almonds wrapped up as a wedding gift. The bride and groom leave. We were told we have enough time for a coffee.

Continued on page 3

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