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Ukrainian-Greek Wedding – Tradition and Culture

Geeting Bread, Korovai, and Wedding CakeLast year I posted pictures of Korovai and Wedding Cakes from weddings I have attended and promised to do the same for all future weddings I will attend.

I had the pleasure of attending three weddings this year and will share some of the special traditions and pictures from each of these weddings.

Today I will share my stories and pictures from a Ukrainian-Greek wedding, my husband and I attended, which took place at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, in Toronto, Canada.

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaThis wedding was very special to us since the daughter of our long-time friend was getting married, and also because the wedding ceremony was taking place in the same church as the filming of the the ever so popular movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.

Ikonostas at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Toronto, Canada Chandlier and upper level of St.Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toronto, CanadaThe church ceremony was traditional Ukrainian, which is very similar to the Greek tradition as well since Ukrainians accepted Christianity from Constantinople in 988.

Reception Banquet Hall - Toronto, Canada Centerpiece from J & Y weddingThe reception took place in a very tastefully decorated banquet hall, with delicious food, and exquisite Venetian Hour.

It began with the traditional Ukrainian bread, wine, and salt greeting of the newlyweds, by their parents.

Greeting Bread for the Bride and GroomThe Bride and Groom also followed a Greek traditional game of guessing who will be the “boss” in their household.  They stood side by side, slightly apart, each holding one end of a loaf of bread (Challah loaf) with one hand, and tried to pull it away from each other.  The person who ended up with the larger portion of the bread in their hand will play the dominant role in the family.

I will not disclose who the winner was (Bride or Groom) but am encouraging you to leave your guesses in the comment section, and I will reveal the answer to the 10th commenter.

The wedding fun picked up with the traditional Greek Dance, a line dance similar to the Italian Tarantella, or the Jewish Hava Nagila, and the fun kept on escalating as the reception continued.

The Vail dance with Babushka scarfThe Bride also chose to incorporate a Ukrainian tradition of exchanging her veil for a head scarf (babushka).

This tradition takes place toward the end of the wedding reception.  The Bride is seated on a chair in the middle of the dance floor.  Her mother takes the white veil off her daughter’s head, and replaces it with a white-flowered head scarf, while special songs are being sung by a chorus of ladies.  The veil is then passed around, and worn by singles ladies who take turns dancing with the Groom.  The Bride engages in a dance known as “veil dance”, as the guests line up to dance with the Bride, offer money for the dance, and are served a cordial drink.

Korovai for J & YAnother tradition present at almost every Ukrainian wedding is the gorgeous bread called Korovai, which is basically a gift to the Bride and Groom, by the Bride’s mother.  The Korovai symbolizes love, prosperity, and fertility wished upon the Newlyweds.

Wedding Cake - J & YAt last, here is the very traditional part of every wedding in the United States, and obviously in Canada – The Wedding Cake.

This Bride and Groom selected Peacock as their wedding theme, hence also reflected on their wedding cake.  The Peacock on this cake was created from sugar. Each feather was made separately, and individually hand-painted before being attached to the cake to create this beautiful display of the full view of the Peacock.

The artwork was stunning, and the cake was decadent.

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