Wednesday 28 February 2018

Montenegro Holidays and Festivals

If you're a fan of festivals, then you've made the right decision for your vacation, as numerous celebrations take place all over Montenegro every month. Montenegro holidays and events here are based on religious occasions, beloved folk traditions of music and dance and the changing of the seasons. Two of the favorites are the Kotor Carnival and the Mimosa Festival.

St Tryphon Festival

This February religious event in Kotor commemorates the martyrdom of the popular saint with processions, church services and folk performances in front of the cathedral.
Kotor Carnival
Kotor Carnival is one of the liveliest festivals in Montenegro, kicking off every February with masked balls for adults and children. Theaters put on traditional shows, concerts are held in the streets and venues, restaurants offer special menus, and the streets throng with costumed revelers enjoying performers, fireworks and parades. Another similar carnival is held in Kotor every August.

Mimosa Festival

The Mimosa Festival, held all over Montenegro in February/March, celebrates the coming of spring with the appearance of the first fragrant, yellow mimosa blossoms. The event lasts for several weeks with fine art exhibitions, traditional and modern theater, music and dance, and street fun. Flower shows are a highlight, and costumed girls holding branches of the flowing shrub travel between towns to visit friends and relatives.


Orthodox Easter falls on average two weeks later than in Catholic and Protestant countries, with Holy Week usually held in late April. Processions carrying images of Christ and local saints wind around the streets to the churches and cathedrals, and candlelit services draw huge crowds.

Music of the Summer

This iconic event is held in Budva over the four summer months, beginning in June to celebrate the traditional musical heritage of Montenegro in all its forms from brass bands to vocal groups, traditional ensembles and more. The concerts are held in various venues, often in the open air main squares, and is welcomed by a huge musical parade to the Old Town to the Square of Poets.

Kotor International Fashion Festival

Another Montenegrin event popular with visitors is July's International Fashion Festival, held annually in Kotor over several days. Top designers from the Balkan nations and the rest of the world attend to share their designs with fashion-forward locals.

Perast Music Festival

Held in the charming town of Perast, the annual Montenegro music festival takes place every August, and is a focus for internationally-known singers, musicians, instrumentalists, and orchestras. Concerts are held in venues all over town, and the event attracts a large number of overseas visitors.

Gornja Lastva Fiesta

Gornja Lastva is a tiny village near Tivat, known for its August fiesta week dedicated to the preservation of traditional musical and dance in Montenegro. Balkan circle dancing and unique klapa male a-capella songs are the heart of the festival and the iconic Clapper music and other traditional Lastva folk songs draw visitors from Tivat and overseas.

Christmas Day

Orthodox Christmas falls at the end of the first week of January, and is a family-oriented time for church visits, celebrations with friends and carolling in the streets. Special meals are prepared, homes are decorated and gifts are given.

New Year's Eve

New Year celebrations on Montenegro begin on December 31 and end on January 2 so you've got plenty of time to welcome in the new year with Montenegrin friends. Everything from street parties and entertainment to the traditional fireworks displays, concerts and other events are held, and hotels and restaurants host special events and parties.

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Monday 26 February 2018

Monaco Weddings

Monaco is the home of one of history's most beloved love stories; the romance of Prince Rainier III and American cinema's most famous actresses of all time, Grace Kelly. Start your love story in the most historically romantic atmosphere of all time.

Monaco's famous gardens are a great atmosphere for a wedding.
Princess Grace Rose Garden is encompassed by over 4,000 Rose Trees in more than 150 varieties. The Japanese Garden is another renowned site known for surrounded with waterfalls, ponds, bamboo fences, a tea house, stone lanterns, tiles and wooden gates made in Japan.

If you desire to be married in a church choose from the beautifully historically-filled churches for the ceremony.
The Monaco Cathedral built in 1875 stands of the site of the 13th century church dedicated to Saint Nicolas. Its white stone walls are the resting place of Princess Grace as well as the former Princes.

Wed in the elegant Church of Saint-Charles built in the French Renaissance style. This church is decorated with 19 stained glass windows with glistening chandeliers above that came from the former armory of the Prince's Palace and now the Throne room.

There is plenty of entertainment if you are bringing a group with you to celebrate your wedding. The wedding party will have a blast in the famous Monte Carlo built in 1878, and marvel at the surreal structure paved in marble and surrounded by 28 onyx columns.
Try your luck in the infamous Monte Carlo Casino featuring stained glass windows, remarkable sculptures, luminous paintings, bronze lamps and of course all of the gambling your wallet can handle.

Rejuvenate your wedding party in one of the spas. The world-famous Montecarlospa has been long-considered as Europe's most beautiful spa and is known for its sea water treatments, therapeutic massages and state-of-the-art amenities.

Try some proven beauty rituals from ancient remedies; the breath-taking view of the sparkling Mediterranean will soothe your soul at Les Cinq Mondes .

Explore the Mediterranean in a unique way; underwater. Aquavision is 55-minute boat trip holding up to 120 people, and allows you to observe the coast's seabed in a magical way.
Soak up the history and visit its museums where you can observe historical sites like The Prince's Palace and see the vibrant colors of the Throne room and the Italian-style Gallery or see the Prince's private collection of classic cars including the 1986 Lamborghini Countach, and the 1952 Rolls Royce.

Visit the Monte Carlo Opera House , home of the some of the world's most creative performaances including, Franck's "Hulda" (1894) and "Ghisele" (1896), and Bizet's "Don Procopio" (1906). 

Monaco is the combination of serenity, history, beauty, and entertainment. For an enchanting wedding and an unforgettable trip, get married here and start your romance like royalty

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Monaco Holidays and Festivals

For a small city state, there are a surprising number of internationally renowned Monaco holidays and events. Partially attracted by the prestige and money in the principality, artists and athletes from all over the world come to Monaco for festivals and fun in the sun. Grace Kelly, the former Princess of Monaco, was a famous American actress prior to marrying Prince Rainier, and she put a lot of effort into developing the fine arts scene and inspiring Hollywood intrigue.
International Circus Festival
Started in 1974 by Prince Rainier, he personally loved circuses and wanted to create a venue where everyone could enjoy a world class show. Since then, circus acts from all over the world come to Monaco in January to perform. Judged on technical difficulty and creativity, the best performances receive the Gold and Silver Clown Awards.

Rose Ball

One of the most elegant and coveted fundraising events of the year is the Rose Ball, held annually in March. Started in 1954 by Grace Kelly, all proceeds goes to the Princess Grace Foundation. Each year the ball has a different theme and is known for the thousands of roses that are used to decorate the Salle des Etoiles venue.

Spring Arts Festival

Monaco's annual Spring Arts Festival in April attracts artists from all around world. The festival showcases music, dance, arts, and theatre performances held in world-class venues throughout the principality. This is a popular event so tickets need to be purchased well in advance.

Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix

Racing enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to see Formula 1 cars whizzing through the streets of Monaco. The Monaco Grand Prix, taking place in May each year, is one of the few street racing circuits on the Formula 1 calendar and not much has changed since it's inception in 1955.

Concerts at the Prince's Palace

Outdoor concerts take place at the palace throughout the summer which were started by Prince Rainier III. Open to the public, visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. The venue is simply breathtaking and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra usually has a beautiful line-up of shows. Concerts begin at 9:30 p.m. and visitors are expected to be seated on time.

Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival

Considered one of the best fireworks festivals in the world, this late summer event has been taking place since 1966. Scheduled in July or August, the fireworks are shot from Fort Antoine over the water by pyrotechnics from all over the world competing to put on the best show.

Monaco Yacht Show

Sailing enthusiasts should not miss the annual Monaco Yacht Show in September. Over 100 of the most beautiful and impressive yachts are on display at Port Hercules and 500 vendors come to showcase their wares, a sailing enthusiast's dream.

Monaco International Marathon
Although this marathon is not on the major running curcuit, it is the only marathon in the world that traverses three countries: France, Italy and Monaco. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people participate in this marathon annually in November.

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Saturday 24 February 2018

Traditions of Wedding


Marriage, socially recognized and approved union between individuals, who commit to one another with the expectation of a stable and lasting intimate relationship. It begins with a ceremony known as a wedding, which formally unites the marriage partners. A marital relationship usually involves some kind of contract, either written or specified by tradition, which defines the partners' rights and obligations to each other, to any children they may have, and to their relatives. In most contemporary industrialized societies, marriage is certified by the government.

In addition to being a personal relationship between two people, marriage is one of society's most important and basic institutions. Marriage and family serve as tools for ensuring social reproduction. Social reproduction includes providing food, clothing, and shelter for family members; raising and socializing children; and caring for the sick and elderly. In families and societies in which wealth, property, or a hereditary title is to be passed on from one generation to the next, inheritance and the production of legitimate heirs are a prime concern in marriage. However, in contemporary industrialized societies, marriage functions less as a social institution and more as a source of intimacy for the individuals involved.
Marriage is commonly defined as a partnership between two members of opposite sex known as husband and wife. However, scholars who study human culture and society disagree on whether marriage can be universally defined. The usual roles and responsibilities of the husband and wife include living together, having sexual relations only with one another, sharing economic resources, and being recognized as the parents of their children. However, unconventional forms of marriage that do not include these elements do exist. For example, scholars have studied several cultural groups in Africa and India in which husbands and wives do not live together. Instead, each spouse remains in his or her original home, and the husband is a "visitor" with sexual rights. Committed relationships between homosexuals (individuals with a sexual orientation toward people of the same sex) also challenge conventional definitions of marriage.

Debates over the definition of marriage illustrate its dual nature as both a public institution and a private, personal relationship. On the one hand, marriage involves an emotional and sexual relationship between particular human beings. At the same time, marriage is an institution that transcends the particular individuals involved in it and unites two families. In some cultures, marriage connects two families in a complicated set of property exchanges involving land, labor, and other resources. The extended family and society also share an interest in any children the couple may have. Furthermore, the legal and religious definitions of marriage and the laws that surround it usually represent the symbolic expression of core cultural norms (informal behavioral guidelines) and values.


Although practices vary from one culture to another, all societies have rules about who is eligible to marry whom, which individuals are forbidden to marry one another, and the process of selecting a mate. In most societies, the mate-selection process involves what social scientists call a marriage market. The husband and wife come together out of a wide range of possible partners. In many non-civillized societies the parents, not the prospective marriage partners, do the "shopping." In civillized societies social rules have gradually changed to permit more freedom of choice for the couple and a greater emphasis on love as the basis for marriage.

Dating, Courtship, and Engagement.
In societies in which individuals choose their own partners, young people typically date prior to marriage. Dating is the process of spending time with prospective partners to become acquainted. Dates may take place in groups or between just two individuals. When dating becomes more serious it may be referred to as courtship. Courtship implies a deeper level of commitment than dating does. During courtship the individuals specifically contemplate marriage, rather than merely enjoy one another's company for the time being.

Courtship may lead to engagement, also known as betrothal—the formal agreement to marry. Couples usually spend some period of time engaged before they actually marry. A woman who is engaged is known as the man's fiancée, and the man is known as the woman's fiancé . Men typically give an engagement ring to their fiancée as a symbol of the agreement to marry.
In the past, dating, courtship, and engagement were distinct stages in the selection of a marital partner. Each stage represented an increasing level of commitment and intimacy. Although this remains true to some degree, since the 1960s these stages have tended to blend into one another. For example, modern dating and courtship often involve sexual relations. In general, people tend to date and marry people with whom they have characteristics in common. Thus, mate selection typically results in homogamous marriage, in which the partners are similar in a variety of ways. Characteristics that couples tend to share include race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, age, and the level of prestige of their parents.

Arranged Marriages

Historically parents have played a major role in choosing marriage partners for their children, and the custom continues in the world's developing countries today. Parental influence is greatest when the parents have a large stake in whom their child marries. Traditionally, marriage has been regarded as an alliance between two families, rather than just between the two individuals. Aristocratic families could enhance their wealth or acquire royal titles through a child's marriage. Marriage was also used as a way of sealing peace between former enemies, whether they were kings or feuding villagers.

The most extreme form of parental influence is an arranged marriage in which the bride and groom have no say at all. In a less extreme form of arranged marriage, parents may do the matchmaking, but the young people can veto the choice. Some small cultures scattered around the world have what social scientists call preferential marriage. In this system, the bride or groom is supposed to marry a particular kind of person—for example, a cousin on the mother's or father's side of the family.

In many traditional societies, marriage typically involved transfers of property from the parents to their marrying children or from one set of parents to the other. These customs persist in some places today and are part of the tradition of arranged marriages. For example, in our culture the bride's parents may give property (known as a dowry) to the new couple. The practice of giving dowries has been common in countries such as Greece, Egypt, India, and China from ancient times until the present. It was also typical in European societies in the past. Although the giving of dowries has been part of the norms of marriage in these cultures, often only those people with property could afford to give a dowry to the young couple.
Families use dowries to attract a son-in-law with desirable qualities, such as a particularly bright man from a poor but respectable family or a man with higher status but with less money than the bride's family has. In societies in which the giving of dowries is customary, families with many daughters can become impoverished by the costs of marriage In some societies, the groom's family gives property (known as bridewealth or brideprice) not to the new couple but to the bride's relatives. 
Particularly in places where bridewealth payments are high, the practice tends to maintain the authority of fathers over sons. Because fathers control the resources of the family, sons must keep the favor of their fathers in order to secure the property necessary to obtain a bride.

Conventions and Taboos

Marriage is part of a society's kinship system, which defines the bonds and linkages between people (see Kinship and Descent). The kinship system also dictates who may or may not marry depending on those bonds. In some cultures people may only marry partners who are members of the same clan—that is, people who trace their ancestry back to a common ancestor. This practice of marrying within one's group is called endogamy. Exogamy, on the other hand, refers to the practice of marrying outside of one's group—for example, marrying outside one's clan or religion.

One rule shared by virtually all societies is the taboo (social prohibition) against incest—sexual relations between two closely related individuals. Definitions of which relationships are close enough to trigger this taboo vary a great deal, depending on the society. In most cases the prohibition applies to relationships within the biological nuclear family: mother and son, father and daughter, or brother and sister. In many cultures, the taboo applies to relationships created by divorce and remarriage (step relationships) as well as to those based on biology. The prohibitions on incest and the rules for marriage do not necessarily coincide. In Britain, for example, steprelatives are not allowed to marry one another, but sexual relations between them are not legally forbidden. A few societies constitute exceptions to the general rule against incest. In ancient Egypt brother-sister marriage and sexual intimacy was permitted in the royal family, probably to maintain the "purity" of the royal bloodlines.


The ceremony that signifies the beginning of a marriage is known as a wedding. Weddings may be simple or elaborate, but they occur in virtually all societies.

Ritual Aspects

Anthropologists characterize wedding ceremonies as rituals of transition, or rites of passage. These rites occur when people cross boundaries of age or social status. Any social transition, such as the birth of a child or the death of a person, sets off changes in the lives of all those connected with the individual. Weddings and other rites of passage dramatize these changes for all involved and also allow for the expression of emotions brought on by the events. Weddings announce to the community the union of the individuals marrying and allow the community to express its approval of and support for that union.

Wedding rituals throughout the world share several common features. An essential element of nearly all wedding ceremonies is the symbolic expression of the union between the individuals marrying. This union may be signified by the exchange of rings, the tying of the bride and groom's garments together, or simply the joining of hands. Feasting and dancing at weddings by family and friends signifies the community's blessing on the marriage.
The traditional romanian wedding is full of beautiful customs and ritual symbols destined to bring welfare and flowering to the young couple. The wedding is considered to be a mystery like birth and natural death. If the birth suit to the sunrise of life and the death to the sunset, the wedding is the daylight, the clearest for the human being, but also the hardest, because he consciously participate in the pass of the most important limit of his existence. In the traditinal Romanian village used to be an important moment for the community. The wedding represented a custom in the cycle of the life,that concentrated an enormous number of purification rites ment to bring friutfulness in the new couple.T hey are known various local wedding ways in Moldova,
Transilvania, Maramures, Tinutul Padurenilor, but the essential elements are the same.The wedding script used to roll for 4-5 days and the ceremony unfolded on stages dedicated to the prepatatifs,to certain rituals, culminating with the proper wedding on Sunday . Every part of the wedding used to be expressed by calls. We can descover the romanian traditional wedding customs at the "Romanian Williger Museum" and at the "National Museum of the Willage-Dimitrie Gusti" in Bucharest. Here we find objects and literary books wich refere to the wedding. The one who made the amplest literary book is the academician Florean Marian, the writer of the volume "Nunta la romani" published in 1890.

In the Thursday or the Saturday befire the wedding they used to go to invite at the wedding the family, friends and neightbours. The people which got to invite are selected from a cathegory which includes all the best friends of tye couple. The invitation starts from the god-father. The bride-groom tougether with the brother-in-law accopmpagnied by the singers, with the bottle of wine decorated with handkerchiefs and little bramches of fir with which they go to people's houses. Then they adress ceremonious: "If you have the pleasure to come to uor wedding!". If the people accept the invitation, they drink from the bottle of wine and the promise that they will come. If they refused they didin't even touch the bottle.

On Saturday at the groom's house used to gather his friends. Amoung them were ellected the "callers" who walked throght the village with a decorated gourd to invite the relavites and the neightbours. They are called "vornici", "gazde" and the bride's friends "druste" or "coltunarese".the young people have the obligation to prepare the groom and the bride for the wedding. At his house they used to organise the party of the flag or the party of the fir.

They used to decorate a spear with kerchiefs, bands, tassels, little belts and plants. The prevalent callers are red (life, happines) and green (vitality). On the big Sunday as early as the sun risses in the antendence of the god-parents they used to take a ritual bath for the perfect cleaning of the body before entering into another state. Concomitantly, the boys were assisting at the groom's shave and the girls and the bride's cowning. Her hair was plaited in odd tresses the pair being the husband. The natural flowers red or green, the tinsel, the golden coins used to consist the main ornament elements wich were added to the heardow like symbol of the freefulness. Above the hairdow the set in a circular corronet so that the evil remains out far away. The pomp formed by the groom, his friends and the fiddlers, first walked to the god-parents' house and then to the bride's. This rhode was crossed blatantly, with calls shrieks, but it was sprinkled with ritual tests. At the bride's house the dowry was showed of.

In everybody's eyes the girl turned away from the family, the bride broke above her head a knod-shaped bread. The pomp walked to chruch for the religious wedding. There, the priest put above their heads "pirostriile". The just married walked away tougether, carring a kerchief, that used to be kept until one of the died, when it will be broken in half. The kerchief was the recognition signe on the other world.
The song of the bride was interpretated by a singer while she was prepared by her god-mother. The other assistants were dancing "sarbe" and a specific round dance called "Boiereasca". Other dances of the bride are "You bride take your good day" and they dance also "Nuneasca" while the bride's mother is splitting napkins. It was interpreted as a ballad called "Godea-Goghea" in which they were talking about a bride which went to a bad mother-in-law.

The round dance is danced at the bride's house, at the preparative of the bride. In this dance the bride wears an apron on the shirt.. The round danca on the fir is danced outside, in the garden or at the bride's house. On Saturday evening the fir is decorated at a party which is equivalent with the detachement of the bride from the girls of her age.

Many weddings involve a religious ceremony. These ceremonies vary depending on the religion of the bride and groom. Various religions or denominations have distinctive wedding customs. Roman Catholic ceremonies involve a nuptial mass, during which many scriptural texts concerning marriage are read. The presence of a priest and at least two witnesses is essential, as is the expression of consent by the bride and groom. In Orthodox Jewish celebrations, the bride and groom stand under a chuppah—a canopy that symbolizes the home the couple will establish. Following the ceremony the groom smashes a wineglass. Most scholars believe this act commemorates the destruction of the first Jewish temple (the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem) by the Babylonians in 586 BC. In ceremonies governed by the Greek Orthodox Church, the "best man" places crowns attached by ribbon on the heads of the bride and groom, signifying divine sanction of their marriage.

Some couples prefer a nonreligious, or civil, wedding ceremony. Such weddings typically occur in commercial wedding chapels or reception halls, courthouses or other governmental offices, or outdoors. These events tend to be smaller and less formal affairs than traditional religious ceremonies. A government-certified, secular official administers the ceremony in the presence of at least two witnesses. Other couples elope—that is, they have a private wedding ceremony that does not involve a gathering of family and friends.

Most couples exchange some sort of marriage vows (promises). Vows may be prescribed by the church or written by the couple. Traditional Protestant vows include the promise to love and to cherish, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, until parted by death. The minister asks the bride and the groom if they each make this promise to the other and each responds "I do."
Following the wedding ceremony, religious or civil, many couples hold a reception. At the reception friends and family gather to eat, drink, listen to music and dance, make toasts, and give gifts to the bride and groom. During the reception, the couple typically cut a special, large cake that is shared with all the guests. The bride and groom may also conduct a receiving line where they greet and thank each guest for attending their wedding.

Many newlyweds take a honeymoon trip after their wedding. During the honeymoon, the couple can spend time by themselves exploring their new status as husband and wife.

Friday 23 February 2018

Moldova Holidays and Festivals

The favorite Moldovia holidays and festivals are those connected with wine and celebrating the country's emergence as an independent republic. Others commemorate religious events and even more showcase the much-loved music, song and dance traditions with lively performances. Moldovans love to celebrate and there are plenty of chances for visitors to join in.


Easter Orthodox Christmas is celebrated approximately two weeks after Christmas in the US, around January 8 and 9. It's a time for family, with many Moldovans returning home for the occasion. Churches glow with candles, buildings are festively decorated and traditional foods are served.


As with Christmas, Easter takes place later than in the US according to the church calendar, usually in late March or early April. It's the most important religious festival of the year and continues over Holy Week with street processions full of icons and religious images, church services with candlelight masses and family get-togethers.

Labor Day

May 1 is Labor Day, celebrated in Moldova as the International Day of Solidarity between Working People. It's a national holiday with many city residents retreating to the glorious countryside.

Victory Day

Held on May 9, Victory Day is a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in the long battle for Moldova's independence.

Night of Museums

May 14 and 15 every year, museums in Chisinau are transformed into theaters for performances of traditional music, song, dance, and even wine-tasting sessions, with special exhibitions taking place as add-ons. The event occurs in tandem with International Museum Day and is one of the city's most popular events.

Sweet Acacia Flower Music Contest

This event is a much-loved traditional musical contest between Moldovan folk bands and neighboring countries held every year in May. Traditional instruments, folk-singing contests and parades of costumes are performed by people of all ages, concluding with everyone joining in the hora dance.

Independence Day

One of the most important events of the year, Independence Day is a national holiday taking place on August 26. Military parades, visits to cemeteries and joyful street celebrations remember the fight for freedom from the Soviets.

National Day of Wine

Moldova's national wine festival kicks off the first week of October all over Moldova. Set just after the grape harvest ends, the winery regions pull out all the stops to honor the country's countless centuries of winemaking. Expect parties, street celebrations and endless tastings.

Chisinau City Day

This popular religious event celebrates the Eastern Orthodox anniversary of the Intercession of the Virgin Mary and takes place on October 14 in the capital. The heart of the festival is the main street, Stefan cel Mare, home to processions to the cathedral and many other events.

New Year

Moldova joins the rest of the world in celebrating the New Year with parties and gatherings on the evening of December 31. The skies are lit up with fireworks and visits to friends as the clock strikes midnight.

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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Wedding Lore

Modern marriages in Malta are quite similar to those in other European countries, but this was not the case in the past.

The daughter was not always consulted in the choice of her future husband. When the girl's parents realised that it was time for their daughter to get married, they would display a pot of sweets on a stone bracket on the outer wall of their house.

Once a young man would notice the pot, he would then go to find an older man who could act as a marriage broker (ħuttab) so that his message could reach the girl's parents. If they agreed, a contract would be settled upon and the girl's dowry stipulated. the young man would send his beloved a fish with a gold ring in its mouth. The betrothal feast would then be celebrated. This was referred to as "Ir-Rabta".

During this feast the bride used to be introduced to her future husband in the presence of both sets of parents. She would be presented with an engagement ring in the form of two engraved hands joined together, as a symbol of fidelity. She would reciprocate by presenting her future husband with a handkerchief edged with lace.

On the wedding day, a group of musicians and singers would accompany the couple to church singing verses of praise to the new couple. Grain, nuts and wheat were showered on them on their return from the church. The guests would stay on for the wedding banquet to which they often contributed by offering wine as well as food. The bride would dine in a separate room but at the end of the meal she would join her husband by sitting near him and even drink from his glass.

Sometimes there would be dancing with castanets, a custom which may have originated during Aragonese rule in the 15th century. During the meal the guests placed gifts on the bride's lap while she sat at the top end of the room.
Eight days after the wedding day the bride would leave her father's house. This is referred to as " Il-Ħarġa ". She used to be received with pomp by her husband in their new home.

During the first year of marriage, the husband accepted to take his wife to two major fesats - namely the feast of
St. Gregory , which is celebrated on the first Wednesday after Easter at Zejtun and Marsaxlokk, and to the "L-Imnarja " at the end of June. This feast commemorates the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul. On the eve of this feast day, many people gather at Buskett, a small forested area outside Rabat, to eat rabbit stew and drink wine as well as to listen to folk singing, known as "l-għana ".

The bride used to wear a different headdress for her wedding. If she wore the "għonnella", also known as
"faldetta' , this meant that the bride had already been married. During those times, many women became widows as men usually were employed as soldiers or seamen and many lost their lives when still young. If the bride was a maiden, she would wear either a hat ( kappell ) or a veil (mant ). The hat was usually fawn while she wore a silver-grey dress. The veil and the dress were usually white.

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Customs and Traditions In Malta

Over the past half century, this little
Mediterranean island, freshly self-determining after a long history of colonisation and dependence, achieved a great deal in the way of modernisation. Much of the progress was achieved at break-neck speed, including an advanced infrastructure, well-developed industries like financial services, IT, and others. While much of this may come as a surprise to first time visitors, this transformation has not eliminated the core elements of Malta's cultural identity – its customs and traditions .

Largely rooted in rural folklore and religion, Maltese customs are still clearly visible in everyday life, most notably, the village festa. This celebration of the local village's patron saint started over five centuries ago, during the reign of the Knights of St. John, and till today, brings with it a colourful cacophony of Mediterranean boisterousness. Possibly the most well known is the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, or Mnarja. This highlight of the cultural calendar is celebrated in the wooded area of Buskett, and features animal and agricultural displays, traditionally cooked rabbit, and għana – a traditional type of Maltese music.

Traditional life starts early on in Malta. The vast majority of babies are still baptised into the Roman Catholic faith, and this celebration usually involves a not so intimate gathering with family, friends, and of course, food. Shortly after, usually on a child's first birthday, the Maltese practise a little-known tradition called the il-quċċija, which involves the child crawling towards a collection of objects while family and friends encourage the child to pick something. The tradition dictates that the selected object is representative of the child's future career. Objects typically include rosary beads, indicating an ecclesiastical calling, a hardboiled egg, symbolising prosperity, as well as more modern inclusions such as a calculator symbolising a career in finance.

Other religious sacraments are celebrated with the same gusto, including the First Holy Communion, which sees the child dressed in flamboyant, angel-like attire and is always followed by a party in the child's honour. This celebration is closely followed the sacrament of Confirmation, which has a similar celebratory style.

Weddings are a big affair in Malta. In fact, the Island has recently started including wedding tourism as part of its offering to visitors. However, the traditional Maltese wedding is still alive and kicking.

Although there have been some modifications throughout the years, the core concepts are still practised: ceremonies are almost always held in a church while celebrations are held afterwards, usually in wedding halls or one of the Islands' many gardens. The bride and groom distribute small trinkets or presents as a sign of thanks and as a small memento for their guests. Food is a major part of the celebrations, and in particular, sweets. Maltese weddings almost always feature perlini – a candy coated almond sweet of Sicilian origin.

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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Malta Holidays and Festivals

Malta's mild climate makes it ideal for festivals all year round, many of which, such as Easter and the Holy Week are prompted by the religious calendar. Eating, drinking and music are happy preoccupations of the Maltese, and there are many events, such as the Delicata Wine Festivals, which celebrate all three. Malta holidays are a time for family and fun, and a great way to get insight into the tiny nation's past.


This annual week-long spectacle takes place in Valetta each February. The carnival involves marching bands, parades, masked balls, masquerade competitions, fireworks, and wild parties running late into the night. Many villages across Malta have smaller celebrations at this time, including the island of Gozo which has a stranger, more ghoulish flavor to proceedings.

Easter Holy Week

Holy Week and Easter are religious celebrations that take place in churches all over Malta, usually during April. Proceedings begin with a street procession bearing Our Lady of Sorrows on the Friday before Good Friday. On the eve of Good Friday, participants visit and pay homage to the Altars of Repose at seven different churches. Church decorations are removed for Good Friday and a solemn procession of statues depicting different episodes of the Passion of Christ takes place through the streets. The church bells ring out the next Sunday, celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. A festive, musical street parade bears the Risen back to church. Easter is a traditional family day in Malta and children are often given chocolate eggs and animal shaped pastries covered in sugar.

Malta International Fireworks Festival

The Malta International Fireworks Festival is an annual event to celebrate Malta's long firework making history. Local and visiting fireworks producers are invited to stage displays over two days in the Grand Harbour of Valletta. The event takes place in the final days of April and is free for spectators. The best views are from the wharfs of Ta' Liesse and Barriera, Valletta.

Malta International Jazz Festival

The Malta International Jazz Festival brings the best local and overseas jazz musicians to Malta for a three day spectacular that takes place in July at the Valetta Grand Harbor's historic Ta' Liesse wharf .

Farsons Great Beer Festival

Farsons Great Beer Festival is an outdoor celebration of music and drinks which has been running over a week in late July/early August since 1981. The festival is held in Ta' Qali National Park and offers free parking and entrance. Participants can sample local and international beers and food, enjoy free live performances and collect an official souvenir mug.

Delicata Wine Festivals

The Delicata Wine Festivals were started by Emmanuel Delicata, Malta's oldest family-run winery, which has been in business since 1907. The Delicata Wine Festival, Malta, celebrates the opening of the Malta grape harvest and takes place at the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta. The Delicata Wine Festival of Gozo is based in the village of Nadur to mark the harvest close in September. Both take place over several days and feature food, entertainment, and of course, wine. Participants who are over 18 years old can buy a souvenir glass to try an unlimited number of tastings.

Notte Bianca

This annual event takes place during September, when Valletta lights up for the night celebration of Notte Bianca. Palaces, museums, cafés, and restaurants are open late and there are special exhibitions and performances. Food stalls line the streets, which are filled with people having a good time and savoring Maltese entertainment, food and culture, well into the night.


Christmas is a major celebration in Malta, both from a religious and community perspective. Throughout December, most churches have a calendar of events for the festive season, including Nativity scenes, carolling, and processions of Mary and Joseph. Crib displays are a particularly notable cultural tradition, often involving great craftsmanship and attention to detail. Many are automated and going around to view the different displays is a common activity. Shops, schools and cultural centers also have Christmas activities ranging from decorations to pantomime shows.

*culled from

Namibian Tribe Where 'Sex' Is Offered To Guests

The people of Ovahimba and Ovazimba tribes in the Kunene and Omusati regions in Northern Namibia have an upheld culture that has defied western influence and agitation.

With a population of over a 50, 000 , the women engage in the daily activity of milking their cows , taking care of the children and other extensive duties while the men go hunting leaving , sometimes , for an extended period of time . These nomads ' wealth is determined by the number of cattle one has . A polygamous people , the Himba girls are married off to male partners selected by their fathers once they attain puberty .

You cannot ignore the red skin they have . The red colour seen on their skin is called , the otjize paste ( a combination of butterfat, omuzumba scrub and ochre ) and its function is to protect their skin from the sun and insect bites . They are also guided by the belief that the colour red signifies "Earth and blood ". Rather than take their baths , the women take a smoke bath and apply aromatic resins on their skin.

- Honour Is Relative-

Give honour to whom it is due : This saying is applied differently in this tribe . When a visitor comes knocking, a man shows his approval and pleasure of seeing his guest by giving him the Okujepisa Omukazendu treatment . This practice literally means that his wife is given his guest to spend the night while the husband sleeps in another room. In the case of no available room , her husband will sleep outside .

This handed down tradition has its " benefits" in the community: it reduces jealousy and fosters relationships. The woman has little or no opinion in the decision making . Submission to her husband ' s demands come first . She has an option of refusing to sleep with him but has to sleep in the same room as the guest .

She is also entitled to give her friends to her husband when they visit but this rarely happens .

Monday 19 February 2018

Macedonia Wedding Traditions

Galicnik , which extends on the falls of Mount Bistra, is found 110 km away from the capital city of Macedonia. Each year Galicnik hosts a traditional Macedonian wedding in the beginning of July. This traditional wedding is a remainder of the past.

When Galicnik had 1600 people living in 800 houses. The sound of drums and trumpets echoes through Mount Bistra and the valley of the river Radika .
The people from Galicnik and some 7.000 quests from the Republic of Macedonia and from U.S.A, Germany, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and some other countries.

Each tradition and ritual was followed with great interest and attention. All of this was captured on photo and film cameras.

This year the wedding started on Saturday afternoon with the arrival of the drums, and soon after that the mother in-law danced the Svekrvino Oro , the Traditional Mother in-law dance.

In the front yard of the groom's house, girls and boys dressed in traditional clothes, which originate from Galicnik , with flowers they decorated the "Barjak" which was then put on the house.

The older people from Galicnik danced the "Hard Dance" (Teskoto), the symbol at the people in this region. While dancing, they were reminded at the hard past, at the fortune seeking, at the weddings and the happiness.

A few tears rolled down their wrinkled cheeks in grief for the past and happiness that Galicnik still lives. On the second day at the wedding the rituals continued.

On this day the groom together with his closest relatives invite the Godfather to attend the wedding. Before the wedding column was formed, the groom was shaved and few traditional songs were sung: " Nejke zetot berber da go brici, tuk mi saka mlad pobratim...

In the moment when the in-laws were on their way to the bride they carried out the custom "Bodinjanje" where they race who will be first to get to the brides house.

Many customs were carried out there too: looking through the ring, giving presents, carrying the dowry and taking the bride. During the two days, a number of customs and rituals could be seen on the Galicnik wedding .

This gave outsiders a glimpse of the richness and atmosphere of traditional Macedonian wedding from the past. The marriage ceremony attracts a lot of guests. This takes place in the church temple "St. Petar and St. Pavle" in Galicnik . Each year the temple is filled with people, coming to watch the ancient wedding ceremony.

*culled from

Sunday 18 February 2018

Macedonia Holidays and Festivals

The majority of Macedonia holidays and festivals are centered around religious occasions or on a number of crucial events in the country's long struggle for independence first from the Ottoman regime to Yugoslavia. Two of the most important celebrations are Easter and Independence Day.

New Year

As with the rest of Europe, New Year's Day and Eve is celebrated from late December 31 through January 1, with memories of the outgoing year and hopes for the upcoming twelve months shared. Traditional fireworks at midnight see residents pouring onto the streets with parties in bars, clubs, hotels, and restaurants lively until early morning.

Orthodox Christmas

Post-New Year winter visitors to Macedonia can enjoy two Christmases, as Orthodox Christmas kicks off on January 5 with children going from house to house caroling and everyone gathering around a bonfire reminiscing about the past year. Christmas Eve is welcomed on January 6 with a traditional vegetarian family supper and the arrival of the Yule Log. Houses are decorated with greenery, and straw is strewn on floors in memory of the stable. On Christmas morning, everyone heads to church, followed by home visits and a sumptuous dinner. Local celebrations continue for three more days.

Strumica Carnival

Held at the end of March, beginning of April on the Tuesday following Ash Wednesday, Strumica's carnival is centuries old and focused on local girls getting engaged. The festival begins with a colorful procession and parade, followed with masked men visiting the homes of potential fiances begging for their hand in marriage. It's all great fun, with street parties and large amounts of food and drink.

Orthodox Easter

Easter is the most important festival in Macedonia, held in April about two weeks after Western Holy Week. The traditional dyed and painted Easter Eggs are prepared well in advance with the first placed next to the family icon. Good Friday sees church attendance and vegetarian food, with the traditional Easter Day meal prepared on Great Saturday. On Easter morning after church, the decorated eggs are given to family and friends, and celebrations continue all day.

Labour Day

Labour Day in Macedonia is a national holiday, celebrated on May 1 to honor the social and economic achievements of the workers known worldwide as International Workers' Day. Macedonians enjoy their day off with trips to the countryside, the lakes or city parks for picnics, relaxation and general merriment with family and friends.

Saints Cyril and Methodius Day

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the lives of Macedonia's two major saints are celebrated on May 24 with the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic alphabet and the region's conversion to Christianity. Church services give thanks and commemorate their contribution with parades and family gatherings.

Skopje Summer Festival

Skopje's annual cornucopia of concerts, folk music, traditional events, and museum openings run from June 21 for four or five weeks in venues across the city, which is a feast of indoor and outdoor theatre and musical delights. The entertainment is mostly free and attracts artists and performers from around the world.

Ilinden – Saint Ilija's Day

This national holiday is a dual celebration on August 2, commemorating two major events during Macedonia's struggle for independence. The Ilinden uprising against the Ottoman rulers in 1903 and the first meeting of the fledgling Assembly in 1944 which laid down the basics of the modern republic are remembered with street parties, parades of horsemen, visits to holy monasteries, family festivities, and a great deal of eating and drinking. The religious significance of the day goes back to the end of the pagan era when the god Perun was replaced by the Christian Prophet Elijah.

Galicnik Summer Festival

The highlight of this early July event in the village of Galicnik is the traditional Wedding Festival, during which one lucky couple gets to marry in a ceremony unique to the region. The marriage rites last for two full days, with the traditional Tescoto men's dance performed to symbolize centuries of suffering endured by the Macedonian people.

Ohrid Summer Festival

From mid-July to late August, the historic city of Ohrid celebrates its Summer Festival with theater, concerts and outdoor street performances. Many of the events are held in the city's ancient buildings or around historic monuments. The festival is run by Macedonia's President.

Independence Day

One of the most significant secular events in Macedonia is Independence Day, a national holiday celebrated on September 8 in remembrance of the great day of the referendum in 1991 which resulted in the country becoming a sovereign parliamentary democracy. Expect parades, fireworks, street celebrations, and patriotism toward the relatively new country.

Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle

The somewhat communistic title of this crucial festival on October 23 doesn't hide the fervor of the national holiday, commemorating the first serious, revolutionary attempt to overthrow the Ottoman rulers and take back the country. The Revolutionary Organization began in Salonica in 1893 with just six firebrand members, who later set the population's hearts ablaze with freedom, resulting in the Macedonia we know today.

*culled from

Saturday 17 February 2018

Luxembourgish Wedding Etiquette

There is a goat at the wedding bustling in between guests. By that I don't mean the derogatory term you may have had in mind when you were thinking of that acquaintance you have trouble tolerating. I was talking about the actual ruminant animal with the white or brown fur, mischievous look and that characteristic complaining sound.

You might think that the goat is part of a farming-themed wedding; maybe the bride and the groom are both farmers or maybe the goat is a prank played on the newly weds. Certainly it is a prank, but the joke is between siblings of the bride and the groom: if the younger sibling is getting married first, the older sibling will receive a goat at the wedding.

This tradition might appear like the cruel vestiges of a time when youth were put under a lot of pressure to marry young, and maybe it is. Amazingly however, I have not been to a goat-appearing wedding, where the reception of the animal was accompanied by shame or pity. On the contrary, the older siblings all accepted the antic with pride and a sense of joy to be a part of the wedding customs and celebrations.

Luxembourgish weddings certainly tend to have a few surprising elements to them, especially since people really enjoy playing tricks on the bride and the groom.

Sometimes the aim is explicitly to embarrass or annoy them a little bit, sometimes just to offer them their first few challenges that they have to solve together, or at the very least, just to raise some money for them. Before we get to the wedding party, let's take a look at some of the elements you might find unusual about the ceremony itself.
Unlike North America, where people choose between either a civil or a religious ceremony, a lot of people in Luxembourg will opt for both. The civil wedding is a must and has to take place at the local commune, unlike other countries that will let you choose your wedding location.

The civil ceremony will also be performed by the mayor (or representative) of the town and not by a wedding officiant of choice. It usually occurs one or several weeks before the Church ceremony.

There is no need for witnesses to be present at the civil ceremony though typically most people take their parents and siblings to the commune. For the Church ceremony, the bride will have chosen a maid of honour, a sister or best friend, and the groom will have chosen a best man, usually a brother or close friend.

If the civil wedding is the only ceremony, the closest friends and family of the bride and groom will come inside the commune to witness the event, while other guests will wait outside the commune and welcome the newly weds as they exit the building.

Another tradition dating back to the times before news could spread like wildfire on the Internet, is the public announcement of the wedding in the commune for ten days prior to the civil ceremony just in case someone is opposed to the marriage. The announcement in Luxembourg is comparable to the saying we all know too well from American TV: "if anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their peace".

The way that a wedding is announced in Luxembourg has become a bit outdated as most people nowadays wouldn't find out of a wedding by looking at the local commune announcements. Today, Facebook alone does a good job broadcasting news like this.

Once the ceremony is over, it is time to gather for drinks at a restaurant or even at someone's home (parents might volunteer their house or set up a tent in their courtyard). This time right after the ceremony is what Luxembourgers call the reception or "Aperitif". Often a line is formed headed by the bride and the groom and followed by all the guests who congratulate them one by one on their special day.

Frequently, people invite almost everyone they know including coworkers and neighbours to this reception but then trim it down to their close family and friends for the dinner party. Depending on the humour of the bride and the groom, be prepared for a wealth of games and shenanigans starting at the reception and lasting well into the dinner.

The kinds of games that are played at Luxembourgish weddings are often very creative and elaborate. I remember my cousin had to take down laundry from a line using nothing but a tractor. My uncle's entire bedroom furniture was dismantled and reassembled in a barn. Every floor in a friend's house was covered with plastic cups filled with water. More commonly, a game, or a variation thereof, is played where a blindfolded groom has to determine which of the ten bare women's knees he just touched, belong to the bride.

Usually, the kinds of games and tricks that are played, are tailored to the newly weds' hobbies. If they play in a musical ensemble, their friends might ask them to conduct an orchestra. If they like sports, the bride and the groom might be asked to compete against each other in a quiz.

Oftentimes, the bride's wedding dress and shoes are auctioned off in order to raise money for the couple. In any case, it is wise to take between 50€ and 100€ cash in small denominations to a Luxembourgish wedding. Not only will you be asked to make a donation at Church, but you might also be asked to donate some of it directly to the bride and the groom during games. Most couples will also have specified a gift registry on their wedding invitations. Make sure to visit the store soon after you receive the wedding invitations so you still get a good selection of presents to choose from.

You might be surprised to find out that music, dancing and even games might occur in between courses of the meal. This could be a welcoming break from eating in order to make room for the next course. There does not seem to be a typical Luxembourgish wedding menu other than the fact that it will consist of several very festive courses. 

At the end of the meal, the newly weds will cut the wedding cake and sometimes even serve a second type of cake called "Bamkuch". This is a delicious cake containing lots of eggs, flour and marzipan whose batter is poured in layers consecutively grilled in the oven to produce its famous striped look.

It is interesting how some of the elements of a Luxembourgish wedding might seem overly formal and rigid, like the ten-day announcement of the wedding at the commune, yet other elements seem unanticipated, even strange, like the goat you might run in to. Of course, as in other countries, the exact mix between tradition and tomfoolery you're going to experience at your next wedding will depend greatly on the nature and character of the spouses-to-be. As every couple is different, so is every wedding, the only constant is the joy and fun shared when friends or family include us in the celebration of a special moment in their lives.

What are the experiences you've made at Luxembourgish weddings? What struck you as odd or unusually fun?

Thursday 15 February 2018

Luxembourg Holidays and Festivals

Luxembourg's culture is heavily influenced by the country's strong Catholic beliefs with traditional, religious celebrations still a major part of the Luxembourg holiday calendar. Music and film festivals are also common throughout the year, and Discovery Zone and the Summer in the City are popular with both locals and tourists.

St Blasius

Similar to Christmas caroling, on February 2 young children go door to door singing the song of St Blasius, usually carrying a liichtebengelcher (a wooden rod tipped with a small light). Although the custom began as the poor begging for food, kids are greeted with candy or money.

Buerg Sunday

Held on the Sunday after Shrove Tuesday, burning the Buerg is another traditional Luxembourgish custom which has been maintained over the years. The Buerg is a huge bonfire, comprising hay, logs, and brushwood topped with a crucifix. Not unlike Guy Fawks in the UK, it tends to be a community event, complete with tasty servings of mulled wine and barbecued meats.


The most revered religious event on the calendar, Octave is an age-old pilgrimage to Luxembourg Cathedral, dating back to 1666. Over the final two weeks of April, people from all over Luxembourg and regions of Belgium and Germany flock to the capital to honor a wooden statue of the country's patron saint, St Maria. As the fortnight celebration comes to a close, a procession is held through the streets with the statue.

Wine Festivals

Local village wine festivals are a great way to get a feel for the real, rural Luxembourg. Usually taking place in the spring, the festivities are centered around music, food, and of course, wine. The whole community comes together for this light-hearted social gathering, tasting the fruits of labor of the local wine makers and gearing up for the summer months.

Discovery Zone Film Festival

The recently launched Discovery Zone Film Festival is an exciting celebration of unique and original flicks and documentaries. In its first year in 2011, more than 4,500 visitors attended the event which showcased the region's best new films. Located across the capital's movie theaters and an exhibition space in Ratskeller, the week-long festival held in March is expected to keep attracting more people and garner more prestige.

National Holiday

Although the country's history as an independent state is relatively short, Luxembourg National Holiday celebrates the rich past of this charming nation. The holiday was officially created in the 19th century on the Dutch king's birthday; however, upon independence, the event was moved to June 23 by Grand Duchess Charlotte to take advantage of the good weather. The festival traditionally begins with a torch-lit parade past the royal palace in Luxembourg City followed by an impressive fireworks display. The city then transforms into a huge street party with food stalls, bands, and many other forms of jovial entertainment.

Summer in the City

The Summer in the City festival has been running for more 15 years and encompasses a wide-ranging collection of events and concerts. Starting in June and running until September, the festivities are free and include open-air concerts, art exhibitions, music festivals, and street performances. Each year around 1.5 million visitors experience the exhilarating and diverse events from the Blues'n Jazz Rallye to Art Exposition.


This enthralling amusement fair which started as a traditional cattle and flea market is held at the height of summer on August 23. Taking place in Luxembourg City's Limpertsberg district, the festival is now full of roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and rides to suit all ages. Authentic stalls still remain, selling an array of goods from sweet nougat to household appliances. The closing night also symbolizes the end of summer and is celebrated with an extravagant fireworks display.


Marking the start of the holiday season, Luxembourg City is lit up with a series of colorful and bright decorations covering trees, buildings, and plazas throughout the romantic capital. Switched on at the end of November, the lights bring the city to life with Christmas markets selling traditional handicrafts, sumptuous winter foods like pancakes and soups, and Christmas decorations in squares around the city. This is a brilliant time to visit Luxembourg and immerse yourself in the fun and festivities.

*culled from

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Wedding Traditions in Lithuania

Lithuania is an old country with wedding traditions that stretch back hundreds of years. Over the centuries weddings traditions and customs in Lithuania have evolved very slowly, with one thing remaining constant: the overriding importance of family. Many of the traditions practiced today have deep roots that are easily traced to customs and traditions from long ago.

The traditional Lithuanian marriage ceremony had three distinct parts.

Traditionally marriage in Lithuania is divided into three parts. First there is the matchmaker who puts the couple together and arranges the dowry, then there is the wedding ceremony itself which consists of several very specific customs, and finally there is what is called in Lithuanian the atgriztai, or the coming back, during which the bride and groom return to the bride's parent's home, where the bride is now welcomed as a guest rather than as a member of the family.

In the past many Lithuanian families lived rather isolated lives on scattered farms. It was not always easy for young people to meet or to get to know each other.

Therefore the father of a prospective
groom would hire the services of a matchmaker to find a suitable wife for his son. Even if a couple knew each other previously and wished to marry, the matchmaker was still hired to negotiate the dowry that the bride's family would pay to the groom for marrying their daughter.

Engagement periods varied from region to region and could also be determined by whether the couple were already acquainted or whether they first met through the services of the matchmaker.

The first part of the ceremony was the bride's good-bye to her family and home and her introduction to the groom's home.

The traditional Lithuanian marriage ceremony itself was very ritualistic. It began early in the morning with the bride saying good-bye to her parents and to her parent's home.

This was a very dramatic and sad time, with a great deal of sorrowful music and farewell songs, culminating with the bride riding away from her parent's home and to the home of her future husband.

The bride's arrival at the home of her intended was the second stage of the marriage ceremony.
Preceding the bride would be the kraitveziai, or the dowry drivers.
They would arrive with the bride's dowry chests which were filled with things that she had collected over the years in anticipation of this very moment. A typical dowry chest might contain such items as rolls of fabric, towels, clothing, bedclothes and similar items.

Towels and sashes were important items in ancient Lithuania . One of the first things the prospective bride did upon entering the groom's home was to place a red towel on the hearth next to the stove in order to gain the good graces of the spirits of the home. She also hung sashes on various places of honor around the home, and then presented the groom's parents with towels, sashes, and shirt material.

The second part of the marriage was the wedding ceremony itself.

The actual wedding ceremony itself followed the presentation of the bride to the groom's household. The bride-to-be entered the church wearing a wreath of rue, symbolizing her childhood.
The ceremony would begin with the bride's matron of honor and other married women removing the bride's girlish wreath of rue and replacing it with the headdress of a mature woman, symbolizing the young bride's transition from girlhood into womanhood.

The wedding vows varied from region to region of Lithuania but were generally fairly simple, requiring the couple to pledge themselves one to another until death parted them. A charming tradition was to have the flower girl and the ring bearer both dressed in exact miniature copies of the bride and groom's wedding outfits.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the bride and groom place the wedding rings on each other's finger, symbolizing never-ending love, and the marriage is sealed with a kiss.

Following the vows, friends and family guard the new couple jealously at the reception and spells are cast and rituals performed that are intended to keep evil spirits away from the couple, especially the bride and which would also insure the couple's fertility.

Another ancient tradition was for the couple to drink wine and to eat salt and bread upon entering the reception hall which are symbols of joy, tears, and work, the three elements of a life together.

The couple would also be showered with both grain and water and were then wrapped in furs to insure that their life together would be rich and successful and that their future harvests would be bountiful and their livestock healthy and fat.

The third and final step in marriage is the coming back.
Finally came the third part of the ceremony. This was the atgriztai or the coming back. The coming back generally took place after a one week honeymoon.

During this part of the ceremony the bride returned to her parent's home for a brief visit and she was welcomed into her family's home as a guest, rather than as a member of the family, symbolizing her transition from her family's home to her own home.

Today few Lithuanians follow all of the ancient traditions, although in small, rural villages many of the traditions are still followed today as they have been for hundreds of years.
Nevertheless, even Lithuanians living in modern cities still hearken back to many of the ancient traditions as a way to both keeping a tie to their heritage as well as a way to keep the romance of marriage alive and well into the 21st century.

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