Armenian Wedding Traditions 3

Decorated, colorful napkins are given out to every individual to have in their hands as they dance during the entrance of the bride and groom. The napkins vary in color.  Most traditional napkins are red and green, similar to the colors of the ribbons that the groom wears across his chest.  Some brides prefer to have the color match with the rest of the wedding flowers and decorations. Small plastic gold coins are sometimes sewn to the edges of the napkins.  Not only does it give it a nice classic look, but the coins also represent luck for the bride and groom.

One of the most common traditions kept and most popular is Guarding the Door tradition. With the many other events that take place at the bride’s house is this fun filled tradition which takes place before the couple head to the church for their ceremony. Once the couple are heading out, the bride’s brother (or any other male relative) guards the door. The brother jokes and pretends to give the groom a difficult time for taking his sister.  This is an entertaining tradition, especially when the brother asks the groom to give him the impossible in exchange for his sister. Some grooms give a gift instead of money. The fun is to see how the denominations increase and how far the brother will go and collect from the groom. They negotiate and finally the brother guarding the door gives his sister and soon to be brother-in-law a good luck charm for their journey.

Usually the brother or a close male relative of the bride assists the bride with her shoes. He places money inside the shoe before slipping her foot into the shoe, extending his warm wishes of luck for his sister.  It is a beautiful tradition of how the bride’s family assists her in preparation for the ‘Big Day’ as she takes her first steps as a bride.

Armenian weddings are full of tradition.  This tradition’s origins are from ‘Esfahan’, (a city in Iran). It is said that it is every mother’s wish to see her son on his wedding day. During the gathering at the bride’s house, this tradition is passed on to the groom from his mother. One individual from the bride’s family and one from the groom’s family assist the groom’s mother with the Green and Red Ribbon Ceremony. While the bridesmaids hold the groom’s jacket, the groom’s mother puts the ribbons over the groom’s vest. The red ribbon symbolizes health and gets pinned from the left shoulder to the right bottom of the vest. The green ribbon symbolizes happiness and gets pinned from the right shoulder to the left bottom of the vest. The groom’s mother asks the bride’s mother to assist her with the ribbons to add more motherly love as their children take one of the most important journeys of their life. Before the jacket is worn again, it gets danced around and is passed through the hands of all the bride’s relatives. The father of the bride escorts his daughter out to  the groom who is impatiently waiting. The celebration continuous with dancing and concluding the bride’s house by drinking the Cognac and enjoying the chocolate the best-man and maid-of-honor have brought.

Even thought times have changes and we don’t follow old traditions completely, it is said that the bridesmaids are not to be married women.   As the bride gets ready and puts her gown on, all bridesmaids are to write their name under the bride’s right shoe . Similar to the tossing of the bouquet tradition, the lucky name that is still visible at the end of the night is believed to be the next to wed.

 

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