We were invited to the wedding my kids were involved in a couple of weeks ago, to see them in their roles as "koumbari". The marriage ceremony in the Greek Orthodox church is rich with symbolism. It lasts about an hour as the rituals are performed.
First the couple is formally engaged and one of the koumbari help exchange the wedding rings between the couple uniting them. After which the couple approach the altar for the marriage part of the ceremony. The priest reads passages from the Holy Gospel about Jesus at the wedding in Cana. The couple are united further by wearing pretty crowns tied together with white satin ribbons, which are also switched between them by the koumbari. Later in the ceremony the couple circle the Holy Table on the altar wearing the crowns and holding hands, led by the priest and followed by the koumbari who hold the satin ribbon of the crowns, signifying the Dance of Isaiah as they take their first steps together as husband and wife.
It's all very beautiful. There are a couple of little things people like to watch for too. There's a passage the priest reads that says "And the wife will obey her husband". If the bride can have her head together and hear this passage while all this is going on, sometimes she steps on the groom's foot as if to negate that whole thing! It's fun to watch and see if she does it.
The best part of the Greek Orthodox wedding is that no one says anything. There are no vows, nobody is talking, no one except the priest. What a relief!
So we're watching the wedding, admiring the new couple, admiring how beautiful Gorgeous is nine months pregnant and ready any day, and our handsome Son #1. I liked seeing all the people dressed in festive dresses and suits, the pretty flowers, the icons in the church.
A couple in the pew in front of us were very cuddly and gazing into each other's eyes. OK, fine, they had to be on a date. What long time married couple are doing that? None I know. Anyway, they were maybe my age, maybe they were older, or not much younger. You get the picture? An older couple making goo goo eyes, and it's distracting me. A lot.
So then the woman of this couple puts her arm up and over the back of the pew as if to hug the guy, but her hand ends up on the full back of his head. The fingers begin to scratch the head. They massage this guy's head, circling, scratching, round and round, up and down, back and forth. I can't believe this is going on. Are they thinking they're alone in this church? Don't they realize the people behind them are watching all this? What's up with that? Why? And why did it have to be right in front of me?
I nudge The Mr. and he eyeballs me. I nudge Son #2 and he opens his eyes real wide. We are in complete disbelief, and they just would not stop it with the massaging of this big head with that big hand. It was horrible. I couldn't take my eyes off this display. I'm bad like that. I was wishing they would just STOP IT!
They finally did, and I could finally breathe. Thanks alot.
Yeah, I took their picture.