National Wedding Traditions: Armenian Wedding

Armenian Wedding Traditions Armenian wedding traditions have somewhat changed in the course of the years, but some of them are followed even today. There are three main parts of the wedding: pre-wedding, when the bride-to-be is chosen, betrothal (“gaz pohel” in Armenian, literally the exchange of bread), engagement, wedding ceremonies and after-wedding rituals. Certainly, all customs and traditions in the modern world have changed: thus, the bride can be chosen by the groom as well, not only by his parents. However, the opinion of parents is very important. The wedding is celebrated for two-three days. The groom and his mother come to the bride’s house to make a marriage proposal, and the bride knows about this in advance. On the wedding day the wedding train comes to the bride’s house, and the groom stately takes the bride out of the house. This “taking out” is accompanied with music and dancing. The wedding procession heads to the church, where they give their vows. The newlyweds have to step on the plate when leaving the church and the one who steps first is considered to be the head of the family. After church, marriage is officially registered in the registry office. The reception party takes place in the groom’s family house. Here they are welcomed by the groom’s father, who releases two white doves with red ribbons on their necks over the heads of the newlyweds. This symbolizes happiness. In the nineteenth century a sheep was killed at the couple’s feet. Traditionally, the newlyweds are not expected to take proper part in the general hilarity. Nowadays some of the requirements are abolished, thus the bride is not expected to be necessarily virgin; often she is pregnant. In some regions the wedding formalities are accomplished only after the first child’s birth. The traditional presents include golden jewelry and money. The dowry given with the bride includes furniture, clothes, carpets etc. The traditional wedding gown of the bride is of red silk, and her headpiece is of cardboard covered with feathers and made in the form of wings.

Marco Douglas