The main purpose of our Greek trip was to be there for a wedding and baptismal! I’ve been friends with my friend MJ since we were in middle school so much so that her family really feels like my own. When she told me her sister would be getting married in Greece and asked if I’d like to come, I didn’t even hesitate! I love weddings and I love the couple – it’s so obvious how much they love each other.
To be honest, I’ve never watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but attending a Greek wedding was quite an experience. I spent the morning tagging along running last minute errands while the bride got her hair done. I got ready and it was finally time for the ceremony at the Church of Agios Spyridonas in Kalokerines.
I guess it’s part of Greek tradition, but when everyone is driving up to the church, they honk their horns incessantly while someone is shooting a shot gun in the air – it’s crazy! But the energy is so much fun! You can just tell there’s a celebration going on. The mass was held in a small Greek Orthodox Church (Kalokerines) but before we all walk in, the bride was walked to the door by her father-in-law.
The mass was entirely in Greek and I really wish I understood what was happening, but regardless, it was a great experience. (Now I can say I’ve been to a Greek wedding!) Orthodox mass reminded me a lot of Catholic mass but several different things happen during the ceremony. The bride and groom walked around the altar 3 times, the maid of honor had these wire crowns tied together with a ribbon and would alternate back and forth between the bride and groom, and the best man and maid of honor also walked around the altar with them. I also noticed they put the wedding rings on the right hand instead of the left and everything happens in threes. At the end of the ceremony, there were a ton of pictures! And when the couple left the church, we three rice at them.
But that wasn’t all for the day! We went straight from the church in Kalokerines to the Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiosa in Myrtidiosa. It was kind of crazy being in a monastery but the inside of the church was absolutely gorgeous. It always amazes me how beautiful and detailed old churches are.
The church steeple.
When you walk into the church there’s a sandbox of thin candles. After some research, it seems like you light a candle when you walk in the church as a little prayer and remembrance of Jesus.
Me sitting in the chair along the wall in the church.
The Orthodox baptism actually reminded me of Catholic baptism, too, but there were different traditions. I think what a lot of people who aren’t religious don’t understand, is that all the traditions or things that are done have a meaning behind it. Sometimes even religious people don’t care enough to find out, but I love learning the symbolism of things.
In baptism, the godfather plays a huge role. Ideally, the godfather is the main person in the ceremony and the parents are supposed to stand back and watch, he even brings the baby basket with the baby’s white baptismal dress. The ceremony starts at the entrance, really similar to the wedding, then eventually they move to the altar. The baby is then stripped and covered in oil and dipped three times in the water. Poor kid, she was screaming bloody murder! I know baptism means different things for different religions and I’m not sure what it means in the Orthodox religion, but it’s still beautiful. I noticed in the Greek Orthodox religion, they like to do things in threes. The also cut off the baby’s hair three times and I think I remember them walking around the altar three times.
After the ceremony, the baby is dressed in her baptism dress and there are of course food and pictures! While we were heading out of church, the church bells were ringing because the high priest and the other priests were heading into the church.
Following the food celebration, we had more food! We drove from Myrtidiosa to Kapsali to have dinner at Lemoni. Even though it was a small party, maybe less than 50 of the newlywed’s close family and friends, the Greeks sure know how to celebrate. Got to experience an authentic Greek toast OPA! and teach them the Hawaiian toast CHEEHUU and just eat, drink and be merry with some amazing people. I may or may not have had a LOT of fun but I am so grateful that I got to experience a little Greek wedding.