Photos: Traditional Cretan Wedding

The groom’s company sing for him outside his house in Kritsa.

In no hurry to complete our lap around Crete too quickly, I turned to AirBNB in search of some cheap digs to rest our tired legs and found a great place in the small village of Kritsa nestled in the mountains of central Crete, not far from our general direction of travel. A small one-bedroom apartment with kitchen for $34 per night was too good to pass up so we turned inland, and upward, for three nights of relaxation. Little did I know that this sudden detour would not only lead us to one of the most beautiful stretches of road we’ve yet ridden, but that we’d arrive on the day of a traditional village wedding.

The village has apparently been wanting to stage a traditional Cretan wedding for some years as a means of enriching tradition amongst the youth (who often leave these tiny villages at first chance) and to promote the village economy, but it wasn’t until this year that a couple agreed to marry in this style. Lucky for us, we just so happened to be there to catch it.

Kritsa assigned unused houses to be the traditional groom’s house, bride’s house, and marriage house and decorated these house in period furnishings prior to the wedding. Meanwhile the local communities assembled all of the traditional clothing needed to take the village back in time.

This little boy was caught sneaking candy at the groom's house in Kritsa.
This little boy was caught sneaking candy at the groom’s house in Kritsa.
The procession through Kritsa heads for the bride's family house so the bride and groom can continue to the church together.
The procession through Kritsa heads for the bride’s family house so the bride and groom can continue to the church together.
The groom's men heading for the bride's house.
The groom’s men heading for the bride’s house.
Two local girls attending the wedding in Kritsa.
Two local girls attending the wedding in Kritsa.
The party moves to the church courtyard for the nuptial ceremony.
The party moves to the church courtyard for the nuptial ceremony.
The bride and groom knotted in matrimony.
The bride and groom knotted in matrimony.
Flower girl in Kritsa.
Flower girl in Kritsa.
Local family in traditional dress for the wedding in Kritsa.
Local family in traditional dress for the wedding in Kritsa.

The four hours of processions, song, dance, and the actual wedding ceremony were a wonderful sight to witness and we’re so fortunate to finally be in the right place for a village wedding ceremony. Numerous houses and shops set up tables along the walk with free olives, bread, almonds, and raki, a locally-produced brandy made from the mashed grapes left over from wine making that runs about 60% ABV. The local villagers really seemed happy to be reliving their traditions, if only for a day, and graciously posed for photos when not busy singing and dancing.

Click any of the photos to head over to the Flickr album for even more photos from Greece, Crete, and of the wedding in Kritsa.

Best of luck to the new couple!

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Doug Walsh

Writer, Traveler

Doug Walsh is a writer, traveler, cyclist, and gamer who spent two years traveling from Seattle to Singapore, the long way around, by bicycle and sea. He's the author of the upcoming novel "Tailwinds Past Florence."

4 Comments
  1. How wonderful traditions are! What an experience for you! And I thought they could only be found on television! Beautiful Flower Girl! I see many smiles in your photographs. Everyone is having fun.

  2. How lucky you were to witness and join in. More wonderful memories for you and hopefully a tradition the villagers manage to keep a little longer.

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About Us

We're Doug & Kristin Walsh, a couple of Washingtonians who love to travel, both abroad and in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. We set off to travel the world in 2014, primarily by bicycle. We're back home now, but the travel bug continues to be fed every chance we get.

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