How to Choose Your Stefana
During the Greek Orthodox marriage ceremony, there is a section that is called “The Crowning”. During this part, crowns, called stefana, that are joined with a string are placed on the bride and groom’s heads. The wedding sponsor, or the Koumbaros or Koumbara, performs the traditional exchange of the crowns. They stay on their heads for the remainder of the ceremony. These crowns symbolize their sacred union and crown them as king and queen of their household.
When the ceremony is over, they save their stefana and often put them on display in their homes. You can purchase special cases, called stefanothiki in Greek, exactly for this purpose. Needless to say, these crowns are not only an essential part of the ceremony; they will also be with the couple for the rest of their lives together. This means that extra care and attention needs to be taken to use the best stefana possible. Here’s some advice:
Start With the Basics
There’s no rule that says your stefana needs to be particularly ornate. However, it is the tradition that they are white and any embellishments that are on them need to be white. Even if they have some gold or silver embellishments, the main portion of the crown should be white or off-white. However, they don’t need to be decorated at all – you can just stick with the basics, which is an especially good option if you would like to save money.
Buying Your Crowns
If you decide to buy your crowns, you have two options. First, you can buy them premade. Areas that have a big Greek population typically have at least one store that has a nice variety of stefana. If not, you can always look online.
You can also have your wedding crowns made just for you. Since these will be with you throughout your lives, you may want to take the extra step to buy stefana that you’re completely happy with. This may mean that you’ll have to get them custom made.
Making Your Own Crowns
Another option is that you can make your own wedding crowns. As long as you stick with the traditional appearance, it doesn’t matter if you make them yourself or you buy them. Just start with a white base and add things such as white ribbons, white flowers, and white beads. If you can’t find anyone in your social circle to help you make them, you can always find instructions online.
Can You Reuse Stefana?
Does one of your family members have wedding crowns that they are no longer using? If so, you may be wondering if you can use them. Traditionally, they are buried with the deceased. In the case of divorce, they are typically disposed of. Generally, reusing old stefana is not considered best practice. Consult with your priest if you have any questions. Generally, it is best to purchase or make your own crowns.
The Blessing of the Crowns is one of the important parts of the marriage ceremony. Since the crowns will serve as a reminder of your union, care needs to be taken that you find the right ones!
Categorized in: Greek Wedding Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston