Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
Υπόμνημα:

The Wedding Cycle

On the Thursday before the wedding family members would knead loaves made of sourdough to make wedding bread that was customary at the pre-wedding feasts that took place at the bride’s home as well as the groom’s home. Then the flour fights would follow. Close relatives would sift the flour and throw in some coins. They’d then take a handful of flour and throw it onto the bride and groom. From that day onwards it was considered wrong for the groom to see the bride before their wedding day. Immediately after the flour fight they’d grab the raw sourdough loaves. It was mandatory that an odd number of children whose both parents were alive sift the flour over the loaves.
The women kneaded the dough on the Friday while the men went to the forest to chop wood for the wedding’s celebratory feast. On their return they’d ride on dressed up animals passing through the cobblestone streets of the village.

On the Saturday before the wedding, at noon, the bride’s dowry display took place. Up to that point the dowry was wrapped and safeguarded in a chest or in a decorative pillar. Meanwhile at the groom’s house they’d slaughter the animals for the wedding feast while a specific type of music played in the background. Once the meat was prepared the groom would send three loaves of wedding bread to his closest relatives, i.e. the βλάμη (vlami), to his Godfather and to the bride’s house respectively. These loaves were considered official invitations to the wedding. The Godfather and the groom’s closest relatives were now official guests. As the third loaf was dropped off at the bride’s house they’d collect the dowry as well as loaves of sweet bread that were meant as gifts to the groom’s family members. The dowry and the sweet bread were part of a ritual that represented the welcoming of a new member in the groom’s family. This ritual symbolically enriched the family’s human capital and meant that new relationships were developed. The transport of the bride’s dowry from her home to the groom’s home was carried out in a festive manner. One of the groom’s closest relatives carried on his head the tray of sweet bread. The musicians and their instruments followed and behind them were the women that were heavily loaded with the bride’s dowry.

On the Saturday morning the invitations were sent out. The groom, or a relative, would distribute the invitations by offering ouzo from a calabash. Those who accepted the invitation drank a couple of sips and then returned the calabash. On the Saturday evening, there were feasts at the bride and groom’s homes where all guests attending the wedding were also invited. On the Sunday afternoon the groom with his βλάμη (vlami), i.e. family, and the musicians would head to the Godfather’s home and then all together would make their way to collect the στέφανα (stefana) i.e. the wedding crowns. Thereafter the groom would be clean shaved while holding on his knees a tray. On the tray there was an apple where coins were being pinned.
Upon departure from the bride’s home the mothers of the bride and groom would pour water on the ground so that wedding joys would flow on the streets just like the water. Before the bride left her home to get married she’d bend in front of the door and pray because she was now leaving. Before leaving she’d take with her large nails or a lock to prevent curses and to symbolically keep shut the mouths of her enemies during the ceremony. Following the στέφανα (stefana), i.e. wedding crowns, there was dancing in the main square and the bride-groom headed toward the home of their in-laws. There, the bride was greeted by her mother-in-law who would then throw rice and flowers over the newlyweds. People would also throw rice at the couple as they walked through the cobblestone streets. Before entering the home the bride would have to break a glass plate to show her strength. Respectively the groom before entering the home of his mother-in-law had to step on a fire grate so that he’d be as strong as iron.

The wedding cycle ended with two customs that survived up until approximately 1960. These included a water fountain and a customary pie. With two jugs of water in her hands and accompanied by a child, preferably a boy, the bride would head to the water fountain to collect water. At the water fountain she’d draw three crosses on three different spots using honey or butter. Then she’d throw a few coins in the water and the child would collect these. She’d fill the jugs with water and afterwards while returning home she wouldn’t be allowed to talk to anyone. She’d give a piece of wedding bread to passers-by. If she didn’t see any passers-by she’d leave the bread next to the water fountain for the first thirsty person to find it. On the Wednesday after the wedding, once more, the bride would make a pie in her new home in order to show her worthiness.

All the newly wed women who were married under a year were in charge of bringing the βάγια (vagia), i.e. crosses made of laurel branches, to Church on the eve of Palm Sunday. Accompanied by the βλάμη (vlami), i.e. the groom’s family, they’d go to the places where laurels were found and specifically to places such as Ntoumsiasa, Katohi and Limeri. They’d chop the laurel and then carry it back to the village. They’d also bring a loaf of wheat bread which they’d slice on the spot. A piece of the bread was held by the βλάμη (vlami), i.e. the groom’s family, and the rest was handed out to passers-by upon their return to the village.