lunedì 11 maggio 2009

The wedding ceremony in Greece

The Greek wedding ceremony lasted three days: the first was called protéleia, or progama proaulìa emera Gamos or the second and the third telos epaule emera

The rites before the wedding On the day before the wedding feast took place a precise ritual that included the first sacrifice for the protective deity of the wedding, This could be in honor of Hera, Artemis of Moire, of Grace Gamel, and of Aphrodite in Athens, even the Gods of the line. The most important moment of the ritual was still swimming purifier that were both wife that her husband, at home, with water from a river or sacred source. For this ritual there was a special pot called loutrophòros, which was ovoid in shape with the neck and two sharp bends on hips. The importance attached to the bathroom purifier is also evidenced by the fact that there was the custom of placing a loutrophòros on the grave of those who died without having married adult Finally to complete this ritual articulated the young wife devoted to a deity related to the sphere of Virginity, like Artemis or Hippolytus, her crown of hair, the retina, the games: the timpani, the ball, the dolls. The second day of the ceremony, called Gamos or telos was the most important day because it was doing the ekdosis namely the delivery of the bride, and began the cohabitation The were three main phases: the thòine gamikè namely a wedding banquet home of the bride, the pump that is the transfer of the bride to the bridegroom's house, the katachýsmata and other rituals of welcome in the new house. Of course preparations in the house of the bride swing from the first morning were indeed hung crowns of olive and laurel to the door and lit a torch of fragrant incense. It is likely, however, that all preparations were directed by the mother of the bride in person. Meanwhile a host of women, mostly relatives and friends, led by nymphéutria took care of dressing the bride for the wedding banquet.

The protagonist of this important moment of the ceremony is the father of the bride who supervises all stages of its preparation. It seems also that he always had to make a sacrifice just before, according to the sacred rite prescribed. During the banquet men and women were seated in front of tables or on sofas separated and the wife sat among the veiled women By sources familiar with the menu of the wedding that could include fish, veal, pork, guinea pigs, hare, rolls, cheese, cakes, eggs, etc.. Recurring element in the various menus mentioned by sources is the hare, which seems to be sacred to Aphrodite and exalted for its sexual and its fruitfulness. Of course he could not miss the wedding cake, the plakoûs gamikòs scented with a sweet sesame, which, according to tradition, encouraged fertility, as had many sprouts. Sesame, mixed with the wedding cake was in fact an essential element of the symbolic rite of marriage in Greek society. Once mixed the cake, and scented with olive oil mixed with sesame, when everything was ready for the ceremony, was cut and distributed by a pregnant woman, a good omen for the young couple According to the ceremonial should also wear a crown of myrtle, in honor of Aphrodite. During the banquet was probably the music in Athens and a child with both parents alive, he went around the room, crowned with thorns and fruit with oak in his hand a basket of bread by saying the ritual formula, "I fled evil, I found the best. " The words that accompanied the child seem to express the close relationship between civilized life and marriage. The bread offered as a product of nature which belongs only to man, in fact, is a sign and guarantee of civil life. Symbolizes also clearly the values associated to the condition and breeding of domestic married woman, as opposed to the cultural connotations of the crown of oak leaves, reminiscent of the proximity of wildlife. The banquet ended with the toast and wishes to marry, again by the father of the bride. At this point in the ceremony some scholars place the rite dell'anakalyptèria ie the moment when the bride takes off her veil and wedding gifts received by the husband .. Depending on the social condition of the wedding party could be more or less ostentatious, but it is likely that at some point they began to exceed the costs, whether in Plato's Laws (775th VI-b) feel the need to set a limit to the number of guests for each family and a roof for the costs. University (245th VI-c), however, speaks of the Inspectors of the women, who were gynaikonòmoi those invited to weddings and if necessary could also decide to send someone away. To make the invitations were the parents of the couple, who could personally invite relatives and friends or, as is clear from some papyri, send your own invitations, in which, as in today's "investments" were shown the place, date and time of the feast.
The wedding procession At night there was the pump, the solemn transfer of the bride from the family home to that of the bridegroom. It maybe the most ancient times had the form of a kidnapping and This custom is still preserved in Sparta. The procession moved on foot or on a wagon, where the bride was placed by the husband or the Paraninfo, the one that led to the bride and protected during this important time of transition. Now an important role was filled by the bridegroom's mother who first raised the torches lit and led the procession The moment had to be very suggestive, because the procession lit by torches, to the sound of flutes and singing and dancing cetro the wedding. In Beozia, then, the parade ended with a particular ritual: there was, in fact, the custom of burning the axles of the wagon to symbolize that the bride could not leave
After the banquet, the bride (nymphe) must be carried out in its new home. The transfer of the young from its birthplace, the house of his father, as the husband was indeed the climax of the ritual of marriage and which was called to attend the entire community. High time, now in the evening, the bride is taken for the pulse from her husband (Fig. 1) and hoisted on the cart that will lead to new dwelling (fig. 2). Beside her on the chariot sat the husband and pàrochos , Species of companion pair selected among the peers (relatives or close friends) of the bridegroom. The type of transportation varied according to the budget of the family: it was the luxury model, a style of archaic calessino pulled by fine horses, the most common model of type "gardener" (wagon with seats side) pulled by mules or horse. Many depictions represent vascular wedding procession escorting the two to marry young girls and boys who carry gifts, dance and sing songs of good wishes, relatives, carrying torches or elements of the outfit. Flashlights and torches are essential for this part of the ritual takes place when it is dark outside: how much more light you could produce, the more opulent and rich was the marriage in the eyes of fellow citizens. The instruments were played mainly aulòs (reed instrument like the clarinet, often a double reed), the Syrinx (Pan flute), the kithàra (zither), the phòrminx (lira), the cymbals and tambourines. The songs blend in on this occasion is called "wedding" (hyménaioi) and were characterized by accents and some malicious' outlets. The oldest description of a wedding procession is nell'Iliade of Homer (canto XVIII, 491-496): (...) We celebrated weddings and banquets: the shining light of torches carried by their wives rooms on the fortress town and everywhere rose wedding song; young dancers twirl and in their midst lire clarinet and spreading their sound, women, each standing at the door of the house, admired the show The parade passes by the most popular and the agora, the marketplace: the whole community to be witness the event, in which two families of the city establish a bond of solemn covenant. The girls of the parade "accompany the bride with torches, an hour late evening, to show to all" (Dione Crisostomo, Patrol. Grec. 61 pp. 104): and the houses women face on the way to see pass the noisy parade. The riot of music and dances of the parade was to create a strong contrast with the attitude of the main protagonists of the ceremony, which, as the pictures show the old, instead keeping composed and solemn pose. Especially the young wife, silent, with eyes low el'atteggiamento resigned, it seems to perform only passive movements that are required by the husband and nymphéutria (a sort of maid that accompany it during the day). On the threshold of the new homeless, she finds her father and mother of the bridegroom for her. But the feast at this point was not yet finished: for participants in the parade, in fact, it went on until late at night, even after the husband and wife had withdrawn in the nuptial chamber, indeed, it was customary that the companions of the bride began to beat insistently on the door which closes behind the couple began to spend the first night together. At the sound of shots was added to the sound of another song ritual, this time of solemn tone, the epithalamium which celebrated the beauty of the bride, invited the two young people to enjoy the pleasures of love and prayed to the gods protectors of marriage donate to the couple happiness, prosperity and the emergence of legitimate children. One of the most important elements in the symbolism of the wedding march is the fact that in all phases of the transfer, the bride, while the center of attention, and richly dressed agghindata to be admired, does not perform an independent movement ever. Socket for the wrist and dragged, hoisted on the weight of the wagon, driven by nymphéutria or raised by pàrochos, the girl is never active subject of the rite, but passive object of all that takes place around her. To understand this, we must remember that in the mentality of the ancient Greeks, the woman was not an autonomous entity, but rather an asset of which the male members of the family were entitled to have. The girl from her husband, for example, could not in any way to choose your companion in life was his father who had completely daughter was with him and decide whether and whom to give in marriage. From the time that was given in marriage, it passed from the protection of the father than the husband, who was required to demonstrate (or so you would not) complete obedience and subordination. In no way it could move away from his new home: firm and immovable as the firebox (hest) that it was, unapproachable by men outside the family, her movements were confined to the area circumscribed by home, which could leave only for times established rituals (some holidays and funerals). Go around the city was not something good for women: slaves and prostitutes, however, had not un'onorabilità be preserved and moved so without restrictions. As far as I know, only in Sparta the condition of the married woman was different and included greater freedom of action and movement: and, indeed, the behavior of women Spartan scandal awakened the rest of Greece. Then it is not a coincidence that in the rite of marriage transfer from parental home to that of her husband she would always' moved 'or dragged as an inert object: in this way it was intended to symbolically emphasize that, although intended to move for change of house membership in this movement, the bride had no active part, but, rather, its function was to get moving and stay where her father and her husband had decided to install it. Here, for example, what happened in the ritual of Beozia, a region of Greece bordering Attica, after which the bride was carried to the house of her husband (Plutarch, Roman Questions, 29): "Burn the axle of the cart, thus showing that the wife is not able to go, since the means of locomotion has been destroyed." The woman was called to embody the stability of the family, the idea of permanence and isolation that keeps the house safe from external threats. The goddess that best represented this female was Hestia, whose name means "hearth": the symbolic center of the area closed and protected domestic, the hest was the point where the house had, so to speak, its roots. The threshold of the house was the boundary beyond which the good woman did not dare go. At the opposite pole was the god Hermès, the god of transitions, communication and commerce, which knows no barriers motion of boundaries or thresholds, which was instead the mobility of men and supervised exchanges between the inside and the outside of the house. The free entry and exit, the autonomy of the movement were, in the couple, the husband's prerogative, and only fathers and husbands, it was also in charge of regulating the relationship between the family and the outside world, to decide acquisitions or disposals of assets, to regulate the passage of guests, staff, slaves, wives ... This explains why in some ancient representations of the transfer of the bride is his god Hermès to open the way for the wedding procession
The rituals in the new house The third time the ceremony took place in the house of the bridegroom: here the couple was received by the parents of the bridegroom, who first poured on the head of the bride figs, dates, walnuts and some coins and offered gifts of welcome, according to the rite of katachysmata. Then the bride ate a quince, as required by Solone to make it sweet on the first and last embrace thàlamos saliva in the nuptial chamber. This had been previously prepared, perhaps by the mother of the bridegroom, who probably had the same marital bed. Once the bride and groom in the wedding room, the door was bolted outside and a friend of the bridegroom was on watch, while the friends of the bride fighting with their hands on the door and sang the epithalamium In the house on the streets and the party continued throughout the night with songs and dances. On the third day, the epaule Emer (the morning of the wedding gifts received by the father of the bride carried by a procession of relatives and friends, which was led by a child with a white mantle and lit a torch in his hand. Then, not if we know in this day or after, the groom gave a banquet to the members of his fratre, and the wedding was a sacrifice and pray to the gods to assist and guide them into new life together. During the ceremony there were some items that generally mark the 'experience of marriage as a fundamental event of life of the individual and community: the frying pan to roast the barley, used during the banquet and the pump public spouses that accompanied the new home, the sieve, a child who took the side of women rites of integration in the new home, the pestle from the mortar, which was attacked in front of the bridal chamber. Every detail, in fact, would seem to imply a reference to Demeter, the goddess by the wonderful fruits and cereals which gives men the knowledge of agricultural technique, had inaugurated the new age, which consisted not only in the application of new techniques and in knowledge of new plants, but in a society which placed end to the archaic

The clothing of the bride We do not know if there was a specific wedding dress prescribed by tradition: the sources, in fact, have different combinations of clothing and colors, which suggests a certain freedom. Esiodo, for example, when the Teogonia describes the habit of Pandora, which goes to Epimeteo married, she has white robe with a stop at the waist by a belt, a veil and a crown of gold, and in Euripides' Alceste ( vv. 922 ss.) made by, ready to say that death instead of the wedding and the white peple expect complaints and black robes. Both poets insist, therefore, particularly on white robes, but the tragediografo also elsewhere (see Eur, Hel. 1087s., 1186s.) Peple the white as opposed to blacks, symbols of mourning for the heroes who are preparing to face a premature death. Esiodo also speaks generally of esthès (eèsqh @ v) "dressed", while Euripides uses the term pèplos (eg plov @), which designated the simple tunic that women used in the Greek himation. Quite the opposite is the testimony of Aristophanes that Pluto (vv. 529 f.) refers to a wedding dress from an enriched himation finely embroidered colorful and maybe even purple. The color red also back in a witness late: the novelist Achille Tazio (Clit. II 11, 2), in fact, he describes the toilet of a bride as hinting at a whole red, with gold bands and a series of multicolored stones. Finally, another novelist, Caritone, as talk of a miles, a type of cloth of very fine wool, and bridal wreath. If instead we take a look at the jars, which often represent the preparation of the bride, we find that the girl is usually covered with a richly embroidered himation, which often makes them even veil, and has a crown of flowers, mostly golden and not, as is attested in literary sources. Clearly, to conclude, that the Greek bride could choose as the best liked her wedding dress, in fact wearing a simple white tunic, or coat a large variously colored embroidery and a golden crown and a woven of flowers, but in his dress marriage should not miss the veil, which had a specific ritual function and that after the wedding was spent Era. It could be short and embroidered or could be formed from the same himation draped around the head.
The bridal veil in ancient Greece The Greek women of any age, those rare times when leaving the house, have his head veiled. Besides protecting against dust, the veil protects the reputation of the wearer, it is, that is, a sign of confidence, virtues which every respectable woman can not have. Or that, at least, must publicly show that they have. The veil, therefore, is not the exclusive prerogative of the bride apparel, yet plays a role of some importance within the ritual of marriage. One of the moments of the rite, in fact, the name of anakalyptérion, the unveiling. Tells Ferecide of Syrian poet who lived in the fourth century. BC, which, at the beginning of time, the supreme god Zeus was united in marriage to Chthonia the deep earth. The wedding feast lasted three days, after which the god, in front of his bride, the veil lifted the thin fabric embroidered that he had donated, and spoke these words: "Greetings to you, come with me !. For this, the poet adds, 'the gods and men of the earth keep dell'anakalyptérion use. And in fact, the unveiling is part of the ritual spread throughout the greek, but is not confirmed by other sources that the groom pronounce precisely the same formula set out by Ferecide. The bride (nymphe) is veiled in the family home by nymphéutria, a woman dell'entourage family of origin, responsible to support the couple during the ceremony. The representations related to vascular wedding march the bride veiled show in various ways: now has her face completely hidden, now only the head, is often portrayed in the act of making the veil to cover only one half of the face. This diversity testifies that, depending on the region or historical period, some details of the ritual may vary. At this stage of the rite, the veil seems to have, as in other cultures, an apotropaic value, precisely because it is the moment when the bride is more exposed. O just before the wedding procession, or already in the house of her husband - we do not know with certainty - the site anakalyptérion. To reveal the young is, however, the groom, in front of witnesses. Dell 'anakalyptérion we have not, unfortunately, iconographic documents. The ancient literary sources suggest that its meaning is to accept and take possession together. In particular, the act of lifting the veil would signify the possession the body of the woman, through the ritual performance, and therefore public, what will happen a little later the intimacy of the thalamus.

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