A short story of a dowry


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16.09.2016

 

 

Although nowadays the times of arranged marriages and dowry are fading away, it is not a faraway past when marriage negotiations where conducted in Crete and the whole Greece. 

 

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The biggest responsibility for the marriage laid on the side of bride’s family.  Her parents had to submit satisfactory amount of goods, land and any kind of real estate to make a deal of their daughter marriage. The more girls in the family, the more difficult task for the parents. Even though, the groom was already knocking the door, arrangement could not happen without a proper dowry.

 

Future wife had to bring to the new house (many times given by her parents) the house equipment: pots, handmade knits of any use carried in bags called “vourgies” specially knitted for the wedding occasion. 

Arranged marriage meant that since now on, the groom – their daughter husband, will be in charge of given family properties.  Giving away precious possession to the stranger was not an easy factor to overcome. That is why many times groom was provided with a land of a lower quality, a hard to harvest piece of seaside plot. Little did they know, that not olive groves but sea view lands will gain such financial value with a development of tourism in Greece.

 

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Today’s dowry is treated more naturally as parents’ help and financial support to the newlyweds and the word “DOWRY” itself (in Greek προίκα/ read “prika”) is used for family heritage or as a joke making fun of a poor financial condition. Even your lovable cat brought into the new house can be considered a “dowry”.