Traditional Cretan Wedding

The traditional Greek Wedding held in my home village of Kritsa, on the Greek island of Crete on 16th August 2015 was a wonderful celebration open to all. Few couples choose this public style of celebration, the last one was seven years ago, so imagine my delight that this one was while we were in Kritsa.

As events were due to start at 4.00 p.m. I wandered down Kritsotopoula Street, to the heart of the village, half an hour before this. The sheer quantity of traditional, predominantly red textiles that hung from almost every balcony transformed the village. The pong of moth balls was pervasive until the throng of bodies wafted it away. Now I understand the origin of the term, roll out the red carpet!

Traditional rucksack
Traditional rucksack

At first the village was eerily quiet, so I  made the most of a seat at Aristidis Cafe and watched him hang up a traditional rucksack, before he set out a table with a huge bowl of honey containing almonds and flasks of raki, a local spirit.

Shops prepare raki and nibbles for visitors
Shops prepare raki and nibbles for visitors

Next door, Kostas set out a table with delicious honeycomb from his own bees, and of course raki. Virtually every shop had similar tasty gifts ready to offer people as they passed by.

Groom collecting small boy as mascot
Groom collecting small boy as mascot

Then along came the Bridegroom on a small horse with a handful of friends. It was a wonderful close up scene as a grandpa lifted a small boy on the horse as a mascot. Aristidis fed everyone spoonfuls of honey and almonds, washed down with raki, and then they were off to the bridegroom’s traditionally furnished house that was open to the public all day.

Mini me!
Mini me!

A few more people in traditional dress walked by, and this pair made me smile!

After the Groom’s group had passed by, musicians set up in the middle of the street and stayed there for hours. Good job they had lots of raki to keep them going!

Rodanthe?
Rodanthe from Kritsotopoula?


How fabulous that this modern Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, posed for a photo next to the wonderful statue by fellow British resident of Kritsa,  Nigel Ratcliffe.

To find details of a novel set in Kritsa just click here.

About 30 minutes later a distant clamour told me the event had really started to get into full swing.

Men carrying goods for the new home
Men carrying goods for the new home

The bridegroom and his men, followed by hundreds of costumed supporters, led the procession towards the couple’s new home. Men carried household items to furnish the house.

Did you notice the white bagpipe in the photo above? Something I’d not seen before.

Bride in white linen shift at the dressing ceremony
Bride in white cotton at the dressing ceremony

Meanwhile, round at the bride’s house, she stood in a white cotton shift, serenaded by musicians and singers.

Under the watchful eyes of a cheerful crush of people the bride was ceremoniously dressed in the many layers of clothing that make up the traditional dress.

Bride with her parents
Bride with her parents

Here’s the amazingly serene bride with her parents awaiting her groom.

Groom and his dad leading the procession to collect his bride
Groom and his dad leading the procession to collect his bride

The groom walked ahead of the procession to collect his bride, flanked by his parents and followed by a multitude.

Raki fuelled
Raki fuelled

After final ‘negotiations’ inside the bride’s house the happy pair led the procession to the church, followed by their very ‘merry’ retainers!

The crowd at the church was, understandably,  too dense for me to push through to take photos.

Marriage Bed
Marriage Bed

After the wedding, the new husband and wife led the procession back to their new home where they rested before the next stage in events.

Bride and Groom lead to the feast
Bride and Groom lead to the feast

Here’s the happy pair leading the final procession to the school yard for the wedding feast.

Dancing until dawn
Dancing until dawn

Feasting and dancing continued until dawn, I gave up long before that!

This youtube clip captures the day; editing is ‘artistic’ rather than chronological.


If you’d like a chronological insight then view this next film, it was a long day so it’s not surprising that you’ll need more than an hour to watch it.

This was a real wedding, not a staged event, and I’m delighted to have been part of it. Mmmm, I think my next novel might feature a Kritsa wedding!

11 thoughts on “Traditional Cretan Wedding”

  1. What wonderful, genuine Cretan life photos! Love the faces, the costumes, I drank everything in! I love all things Crete and still hope to visit someday. My great-grandfather, Yoorgos Leventakis, hailed from a mountain village near Sfakia. It’s a lifelong dream to explore the island. Thank you for sharing Yvonne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Effrosyni. I was amazed that there were that many traditional costumes in the village. The local culteral association worked so hard to stage the event, but without so many people willing to join in it wouldn’t have had the same effect.

      So many hero’s hailed from the Sfaka area it is an area I intend to visit and explore, not this year though. X

      Liked by 1 person

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