Armenian Wedding Traditions: The Red and Green Ribbon Ceremony

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Armenian weddings have many traditions. The red and green ribbon ceremony is one such tradition. This ceremony is said to be an old Armenian tradition that has been passed down and kept mainly by Armenians in specific areas of Iran, such as Isfahan. As most traditions, there might be slight variations of its’ origins. 

In the old times, the crown that was placed on the bride and groom’s heads during the wedding ceremony was made of white, green and red threads. These colors signified peace, life, and sacrifice. The red and green ribbons are related to this tradition. Accordingly, green signifies life and red signifies sacrifice.

red and green ribbon ceremony

Photo by Vic Studios

The groom’s side makes the ribbons and takes them to bride’s house.  As the bride is away changing into her wedding gown, a member of the groom’s family, usually the wisest woman, starts fastening the sashes on the groom’s white shirt. Typically, groom’s mother is the one who performs the ceremony.

red and green ribbon ceremony

Photo by Vic Studios

During the process, the bridesmaids hold the groom’s jacket and dance it around. The ribbons are pinned from each shoulder to the bottom of the shirt. By pinning the red and green ribbons onto the groom’s shirt, the responsibility is symbolically passed down to the groom. Then, during the Church ceremony, both the bride and groom are given the responsibility through the crowning of the red, green and white threads.

Nowadays, some describe the ribbons as a symbol for health and happiness. They say the purpose of the ceremony is simply to wish a new and joyful life to the couple and pass down the tradition.

red and green ribbon ceremony

Photo by Vic Studios

Once the ribbons are pinned, the groom wears his jacket and the celebration continues. The groom may keep the sashes on throughout the ceremony and reception. Some take them off prior to the reception. It all depends on personal preference. This could be a good way to distinguish the groom from the crowd at the wedding.

red and green ribbon ceremony

red and green ribbon ceremony

Photo by Vic Studios Professional Photography

Some may wonder where to get the sashes. A family member usually makes the red and green sashes. Different symbols and motifs such as grapes, pomegranate and wheat can be incorporated representing prosperity, wealth and good health. Each family may decide to add their own personal touch when making them. The materials can be purchased at any fabric store. Also, stores that specialize in sashes could be an option for ordering the ribbons. 

Traditions like this are passed down from generation to generation, adding special meaning to weddings. Did you have the red and green ceremony at your wedding? Share your photos to help keep the tradition alive. 

Special thanks to Vic Studios for providing us the beautiful photos from Emin and Lucy's wedding on June 7, 2014 at St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena. 

Tags: armenian , green , red , tradition

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