Sacred Marriage

asset106-png

Sweet Village Life

How innocent the love of the past. People would weave stories of a future together, from a mere glance, not even a touch. A gaze in the eyes, my grandmother (Niki) knew he was the one for her. My grandfather (Antonis) was her elder brother’s best friend. Sweet village life joined them together in a sense of community and trust. She would see him every three months at communal gatherings, that was the only time her heart skipped a beat. At 15 years old, Niki had dreams of becoming an actress and had already participated in several local plays. Niki had the voice of a nightingale, waking with song and dancing her way through the day. However, due to poor familial conditions and obligations as an older sister to 4 younger siblings, Niki was forced to mature at a very young age. Pulled out of high school by her mother (Athena), Niki began a career as a tailor. She sowed wedding gowns and garments for local women and men. She held a class for ten women, where she shared her skills and crafts. The women would sing all night, under one lamp, their only source of light as they sowed and learned together. Village life was full of abundance. The abundance you cannot find in your wallet, or at your local bank. This abundance was full of spirit, full of life. With only one bread to fill their empty stomachs, 8 children would sit around the Sunday table full of laughter and joy. My great-grandmother (Athena) though stern would always feed her children with love and nurture.
Life had a complete different reality in my grandfather Antonis world. He was born of a rich family and they owned most of the land in their village Tymbou. The story was that Antonis father in his desperation to find prosperous land, asked for a sign from heaven. As he prayed, he received a vision to start digging on a land which locals considered as barren land. There he found an ancient icon of the St. Marina. She was viewed as a high protector by all locals of the village. It is said that the saint appeared to him and told him to start farming on the land. Everything he sowed and reaped would be turned to gold by her. The only thing she asked of him in return was to build a church in her name. Sure enough, years later local villagers prayed at the church of St. Marina, which was considered one of the most sacred spots of the village. Antonis family was prosperous, employing several locals and offering fair wages to those who worked on their land. Antonis was also a hard-worker. The fields was his work-place where he even had a cot where he would sleep out in the open. He tended to the animals and vegetation, and harvested the cotton fields. His fields generously grew plump fruits and vegetables. In the bliss of growth, he would look up at the stars and listen to the water nourishing the crops. Vitality, supplying the Earth and his community was what made him sleep sweet and sound at night.
This is why Niki fell in love with him. He was such a humble, big hearted man despite all the riches he held in his hands. It would take him several years before he could see Niki as a woman. She was 5 years younger then him, and being her brother’s best friend, Antonis had a lot of respect for the family. This is how naive and innocent village life was. People had morales, codes of honour which they held and followed. Their human instinct and nature was to bring help to others and offer service for the betterment of the whole community. Niki’s beauty though, soon caught attention and Antonis could not resist but ask for her hand in marriage, with her father and mother’s approval and older brother of course!

The Rites of Ceremony

Cyprus traditional weddings were a 7 day celebration. This was the custom that Niki and Antoni followed on 29 October 1967.

Friday: Known as the “Bridgia, The Dowry”: Women would come together to hand wash the bed sheets of the couple. They would sing and dance until late evening, filling their hearts with local gossip and homemade food.

Saturday: “The dressing of the Bed”: This was when the women would sow the bed of the couple. They sowed the mattress, printing red crosses for protection and filling the bed with cotton. The men placed money in the bed for prosperity and abundance. As a violinist played traditional wedding songs, the men picked up the prepared bed and danced with it, bringing it to life. A chosen mother rolled her infant on the bed for good luck and to bless the womb of the bride. The bed would be transferred from the bride’s parental home to the couple’s home. All participants would go to the couple’s home and celebrate until the morning, feasting on food, wine, music and dance.

Sunday: “Wedding Day”: The bride would be dressed in the morning by her relatives at her parental home. This was accompanied by a violinist playing music and the women offering her blessings through the crossing of a sacred belt around her. The groom was also prepared at his home, shaven by his best man. The couple were escorted to the local Greek Orthodox church, where they were anointed by rose water. a symbol for enduring love by their neighbours and friends. At the church, vows of matrimony were made and traditional rice was thrown to the couple.
*My grandmother and grandfather were the first local couples to have a photographer at their wedding. This is why my grandmother is shy in the photo when my grandfather kisses her on her cheek, as public affection was not common.*

Monday: “The Dance”: The couple held there first dance ceremony, where the locals glued money on their wedding garments. This was a sign of great wealth and an abundant life.

Tuesday: “The Gifts”: The couple would go around the village and receive gifts from all locals, neighbours and friends. The gifts were usually chickens, pastries, eggs and household items. In exchange, the couple would hold a dinner party that would last until the dawn, where they would dance and sing.

Wednesday: “Kocholoufkia: Legumes”: The relatives and good friends of the couple would meet up and eat beans, black-eyed peas in order to fast from the vast meals of previous days. This gathering also promised dance and song until late hours.

The following Sunday: “Antigamo: Re-Marriage”: This was a big feast held to celebrate the matrimony where the priest, family members and people who could not attend the church ceremony gathered to celebrate the marriage once again.

Sacred Bond

Even though this 7 day ceremony would seem a bit far-fetched for our modern society, the art of it all had deep meaning. The whole community would gather together to join two partners in this sacred union, bringing them together through blessings. Everyone worked in harmony with one another with naivety and innocence and would literally rejoice and celebrate for the lucky number of 7 days. The rituals performed on each of the 7 days by the community, proved to bring positivity to the couple and all had the intention of manifesting good fortune upon the couple.

In these times, where we have so lost the essence of unity and true love, going back to the past is a necessity in order to heal future generations. Ceremonies like these, the morales of village life is not something necessarily that needs to be revived, yet is something that can remind us of the notion of joint community, bonds of sisterhood and brotherhood. Music, service, dance, art and play can heal all wounds of modern society. Our system has become too complex, full of absurd laws and rules which deprive us of our freedom. In this deprivation, we have become fixated on trends, fashions, the latest “it” thing and have forgotten that we are human. We have forgotten where we have come from. The land, mother nature is so craving for us to remember her. By focusing on the prosperity of the land around us, the tending of plants, animals, the rejoicing and celebration of other’s happiness, we can truly heal this world.

War Cannot Take Our Love Away!

In 1974, my grandparents lost the home they had built for their beautiful three daughters and all acres of land in their village Tympou. In the Turkish illegal invasion, 5,700 Cypriots became refugees. With a smile on their faces, courage in their hearts in the years to come they were to rebuild their lives on the non-occupied areas. My grandfather was forced to become a truck driver to support his family, and my grandmother became a shoe tailor. What surprises me is that despite all the difficulties, all the pain and loss, the fighting and treachery of war these two people still sang and danced. They rejoiced each day and never were saddened by defeat.
People like this, Niki and Antonis, are true heroes. Their rare gem of sacred marriage truly inspires us to follow their example and light the world with unity and love.

 

© Nicoletta

Ever Since

asset63

Since when do I
Close my eyes
And dream
Of nothing but you?

Since when have your
Deepest thoughts
Become my own?

Since when do I
Call your name
And think it
Is me I am calling?

Since when
Did my heart
Start beating for you?

Since when
Did I tell it
To never stop?

owl

© Nicoletta

 

If this poem had a voice, this is what it would sing…

 

Photo by Nicoletta: Oban, Scotland

Song: A Song for Lovers- Richard Ashcroft

 

What is Love?

asset(29).png

What is love?

With these three words

She walked with pride

The rising sun in full blossom.

 

What is love?

She boldly asked

In full concentration.

Can I feel it?

Or taste it, even touch it?

She wondered

Tilting her head on the splashing auburn sky

For response.

 

Can I be it?

Her eyes reflected the vibrancy of dawn

The innocence of youth

Played with her thoughts

Dizzying her mind

With sweet puzzling questions.

 

What is love?

She looked up

To the infinite horizons

With a faint sigh.

 

owl

© Nicoletta

If this poem had a voice, this is what it would sing…

 

 

Photo by ©Charles Newton Price

Song: Oliver Shanti- Bodhisattva child

Love, I’m Sorry.

burning-heart

Love, I’m sorry.

I forgot to celebrate you today.

You see, I couldn’t find you

Under all these stuffed bears

And fancy roses.

You weren’t to be found

Under the sheets

Or in this bar of chocolate.

I couldn’t eat you

Or see you

Or feel you.

Love, I’m sorry.

I couldn’t pretend.

I found you in

My eyes the other day.

I heard you in music

Saw you in art

Felt you in play.

A woman’s patience

That boy’s innocence

My grandfather’s wisdom

Her humour

His laughter

The light of day

Dark of night

Health

Happiness

Heart

Love, I celebrate you.

Just not today

Not in that way

I’m sorry.

owl

© Nicoletta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liebster Blog Award!

Yay! Liebster award! What a great way to end 2014…a challenging year, gifted with endless lessons.

Truth be told, there is bitter sweet sensation in the shedding of the old and the welcoming of the new. We cling on to our past experiences unwilling to accept change. Yet, given that change is unavoidable, we have no other choice but to fly with the winds of change as they breeze by.

How lucky am I to embrace this transition with an award!

My friend http://unbolt.wordpress.com/, thank you for flying your way towards my blog and nominating me!

With open wings, I fly with you.

I had no clue on what to do…so here are a few rules it be best to go through…

Facts about me…

  1. I love to travel, discover new cultures, see new things.
  2. I’m not much of a talker, prefer to express what I feel on paper.
  3. I am an avid reader. Think I have more books than clothes in my closet.
  4. I love art in all forms. Life is a large canvas, painted with fragments that paint a full picture.
  5. I often look up rather than down, and when I do look down I try to bring myself up again.
  6. I am a sucker for romance. Candlelight, roses, love songs awaken the cherub within.
  7. Spiritual and truth seeker.
  8. Stubborn perfectionist (yes…I am a Virgo).
  9. Word geek. Literally read between the lines of everything.
  10. I see everything as a sign, bearing significance in one way or the other.
  11. I take each day as it comes, grateful for the here and now.

Questions for me…

  1. Donald Duck or Woody Woodpecker? Donald Duck.
  2. Swan Lake (ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky) or Black Swan (film by Darren Aronofsky)?Ooh…ballet. Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is definitely the winner.
  3. Harpies or Gryphons? It would be considered offensive if I didn’t choose a Greek mythological creature. Harpies it is, however hideous they are.

  4. Angry Birds (puzzle video games) or Birds of Steel (combat flight simulator video games)? Angry Birds.

  5. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (books by Selma Lagerlof) or DuckTales (cartoons by Disney)? Literature please, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils.

  6. Dove of Peace (sketch by Pablo Picasso) or Swans Reflecting Elephants (painting by Salvador Dali)? Swans Reflecting Elephants..magical painting!

  7. Blackbird (song by The Beatles) or White Bird (song by Sam Bush)? Between the polarities of black and white, I choose white but in this case I have to go for the Beatles, Blackbird.

  8. Captain Jack Sparrow or Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico (The Penguins of Madagascar)? This one was a difficult one, sorry Captain the penguins of Madagascar are far too cute.

  9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (novel by Ken Kesey) or To Kill a Mockingbird (novel by Harper Lee)? To Kill a Mockingbird.

  10. Raphinae or Phorusrhacos? Raphinae..had the pleasure to visit Mauritius..the island of these fascinating extinct creatures.

  11. The Raven (poem by Edgar Allan Poe) or The Birds (film by Alfred Hitchcock)? Poetry or film? My heart says The Raven by Poe.

I nominate…

  1. Autumn Star

  2. http://eyewillnotcry.wordpress.com/

  3. http://universalzeropoint.wordpress.com/

  4. http://fictionamongst.wordpress.com/

  5. http://universeisathought.wordpress.com/

  6. http://kindnessblog.com/

  7. http://urbanpoetrees.com/

  8. http://htmm.wordpress.com/

  9. https://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/

  10. http://belikewaterproduction.com/

  11. http://aurakarma.wordpress.com/

I question my nominees…

  1. Is this the real world or is this fantasy? (Queen lyrics Bohemian Rhapsody)

  2. To be or not to be? (Hamlet, Shakespeare)

  3. What happens to a dream deferred? (Langston Hughes, Harlem)

  4. Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? (Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd)

  5. Do you remember nothing? (T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland)

  6. Is it just tomorrow or just the end of time? (Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix)

  7. If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? (Ode to the West Wind, Percy Bysshe Shelley)

  8. How soon is now? (The Smiths, How Soon is Now?)

  9. What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man? (Mary Shelley, Frankenstein)

  10. Are we human or are we dancer? (The Killers, Human)

  11. How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky? (Bob Dylan, Blowing in the Wind)

    Thank you again and happy new year to all!

                           x

Swans Kiss

Scorching burning bodies

Flare from a single touch.

Trembling tips of fingers

Sting slippery sweat.

Separate entities, intertwine

Carve into one.

Swans gently stroke,

Gleaming feathers of grace.

Ripples playfully follow

Meeting beaks.

Perfect halves kiss

Clinking a perfect shape.

A gem glorifying love.

Flames of energy

Burst into the pale sky.

Shooting rainbow rays.

Birthing sprays of indigo.

Passion painted in the canvas above.

Eros blowing sparkling red,

Tickling horizons

With the promise of sunrise.

Like candles one by one,

Clouds lighten romance into the air.

Bodies dress in embrace

Desire burning deep within.

Hands unite igniting a pure glow.

Lust cradled in fever.

Fumed in pulse.

Dizzy heads

seeking serenity on beating chests.

Quivering eyes comforted by dreaming thoughts.

© Nicoletta

If this poem had a voice, this is what it would sing…

Drifting Thoughts

imagine43

I tend to close my eyes and fall asleep
Yet, I lie wide awake thinking of you.
My body craves for your presence
Your scent lingers, it livens my senses.
My thoughts drift me away
To the home where you nestle and lay.
I steal a kiss from your tender lips
And in my mind I capture a perfect glimpse
Of a dreaming angel.
A calming image
Slowly shutting my eyes.
Allowing my soul to creep
Into the layers of your heart.
Where we shall link together
And nothing can make us part.

© Nicoletta

If this poem had a voice, this is what it would sing…

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑