Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fit to Be Crowned

Image via ErinHeartsCourt

Growing up, I had the chance to witness the wedding of many of my cousins in Greece.  And as a little girl, I would stand (as is customary) at the weddings of our relatives that were married in the Greek Orthodox church and just marvel at the beautiful customs.  The ceremony itself is full of symbolism and is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous religious service I have ever witnessed.  

My favorite part of the ceremony are the Stefana, or crowns.  The crowns are a symbol of the union between husband and wife, and their symbolism is best described by the Antiochian Archdioces of America's website:

We witness the groom and bride being crowned (visibly proclaimed) as the king and queen, respectively, of a new family, entrusted by God with the authority to rule their family in faith and love and harmony with Christ. They both share in this responsibility and privilege as a newly married couple...The crowns are then switched back and forth between the groom and bride’s head, signifying that they completely share their lives together. 

And I wished as a little girl that I could be married in a ceremony like that, if I ever got married, but um...I'm not Eastern Orthodox.   

Once we started to plan our wedding, the wheels started to turn.  I really wanted to include a bit of my mom's Greek culture in a way that felt authentic to me.  And that's where the crowns, or Stefana, came into play. 

So I asked my aunt if she'd ever seen a crowning ceremony performed in a Greek Protestant wedding, and she said yes!  Some of the rituals carried over from one denomination to the other, because religion is tied so closely to the culture. So instead of a unity candle or hand-binding ceremony, we incorporated the Stefana.  We asked my uncle, who is a pastor, to perform the ceremony in whatever way he felt comfortable. 

The ceremony has fallen out of favor, and isn't performed very often in my mom's church, so we had to do some digging!

My aunt helped me out on the research, since I have the reading skills of a 2nd grader when it comes to Greek.  And a little birdie told me that my mom had purchased the crowns to surprise me at my shower. And by little birdie, I mean my mom (she's terrible at keeping secrets).  

I was so extremely excited about this.  I'll admit that I worried if it was going to be too weird after getting a couple side-eyes from relatives and family friends.  But this just felt so perfect for us!  

Have you looked to your family's background or culture for ceremony inspiration?  Are there any traditions you are incorporating into your wedding?

1 comment:

  1. What a very cool tradition! I think it is great that you found something that you enjoyed, and even though it may not be a tradition in your family/religion per se, you will definitely make it work for you and your big day!

    Your wedding sounds so interesting, can't wait to catch up and follow along!