Should You Be a Koumbaro or Koumbara?
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Did someone just ask you to be his Kourmbaro at his wedding? This is a great honor and one that has an important role not only in the marriage ceremony itself but in his life, as well. Before you say yes, however, it helps to understand what your responsibilities really are.
How the Koumbaro or Koumbara is Selected
According to the Greek Orthodox Church, the Koumbaro or Koumbara is the person who will officially sponsor the marriage. At the conclusion of the ceremony, for example, the priest may call him into his office to sign the necessary paperwork.
This is why it is vital that the selected Koumbaro or Koumbara is an Orthodox Christian in good standing. So, before you were even asked, chances are very good that the couple discussed you with the priest for his approval.
Even though traditionally the godparent of the bride or groom does it, priests have become more lenient with this rule. Often, they will ask a sibling or a very good friend. If you are a friend to the bride or groom, they are essentially asking you to become part of their family.
Consider the Responsibilities
So, what is the Koumbaro or Koumbara expected to do? The Koumbaro will exchange the wedding crowns three times during the relevant part of the ceremony, which is considered one of the highlights of the service. In addition, there are some physical items the Koumbaro is expected to provide.
- Letter of good standing. Your priest should provide a letter which indicates you are a Orthodox Christian in good standing.
- Stephana. It is the Koumbara’s responsibility to buy the Stephana that will be used in the ceremony.
- Silver tray. This silver tray is usually fairly ornate and is usually made of silver, platinum, or white gold. Silver, however, is the most popular. The tray will contain a layer of koufeta (candy covered almonds) and rice.
- Two Candles. Most choose to have these candles decorated even though this is optional. You may want to ask the bride and groom what they would like.
- Gratuity. The Koumbaro is also expected to pay gratuities owed to the priest and chanter.
Are you prepared to accept that you will have to pay for these items? If so, you are on your way to accepting the honor of being the Koumbaro.
Now that you know what you are expected id do, another thing to consider is that saying yes to being the Koumbaro also requires your time. Most people think all they have to do is show up for the ceremony.
This isn’t the case. You will be asked to attend all wedding related functions. It also takes time to purchase all the items that are needed, such as the Stephana and the candles.
Now that you know what to expect, you can make a decision whether or not you want to do this. No matter what, the bride and groom will respect your decision.
Categorized in: Greek Wedding Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston