The Marriage (the Joy)
The marriage of Sarakatsanoi, known as "joy", constituted the most important event in their life and it was a very cheerful event full of songs with wishes for the newly married for their new life. It was an event that broke the monotony of the daily routine, a meeting between relatives and friends. The age of the children in the family, particularly in the girls, determined strictly the order of marriage. The institution of dowry did not exist, except certain cases, where the father gave to the bride some sheeps and horses.
The marriages of Sarakatsanoi were becoming almost exclusively between families of Sarakatsanoi. This happened because the position of woman in the society of Sarakatsanoi, her hard life and generally the peculiarity of her way of life, did not leave margins for the choice of other woman.
This "restrictive term" in the choice of companion, as well as the isolation of Sarakatsanoi because of the nomadic way of life, contributed so that to be maintained unmixed so much the Greek language, as the mentality, the habits and the behaviors.
Sarakatsanoi did not ever ask for dowry. Importance had the persons, their quality and not the dowry that would accompany them. The decision for the choice of the groom or the bride was almost always of the parents and the relatives and mainly of the father. After the match was decided and was becoming certain negotiations between the involved families, they gave their promise and in few days the engagement was taking place.
The engagement was a holy promise and its dissolution constituted big offence for entire the kin. It was becoming without the presence of the couple, with the exchange of a red scarf that had on it the ring. Immediately after the engagement was decided the date of marriage, that mainly, was in autumn and before the Christmas and in the summer.
The marriage was beginning from Wednesday with the invitation of the relatives and the friends, which was becoming with the offer of sugarplum in a red scarf.
Before the marriage in the house of the groom "was touching" the leavens in order to knead the "roll" of the groom. The leavens "was touching" a girl not married, healthy and not orphan. Thus Sarakatsanoi were believing that the marriage would be blessed without deaths.
The Flampouras is a symbol of the marriage of Sarakatsanoi and is considered to be an evolution of the Byzantine labarum. It is composed by a long wooden pike and in its top becomes the wooden cross. There are placed three entire apples or pomegranates, symbols of health and fertility. In the pike is sewed a scarf, which has essentially a cross in the middle, and is decorated with "frentzes" (various ribbons) and "harhaggelia" (small bells).
In old times the flampouras was crimson, while in its modern versions dominate the colors of the Greek flag. Its manufacture was becoming with dances and special songs. “Mpratimos” or “flampouriaris” was the escort of the groom and the guardian of the flampouras. With the flampoyras was beginning the marriage and the feast. The first dancer of each dance kept it high in order to be before the dance.