Meet the best man.

@thea09 (18324)
Greece
September 28, 2009 5:04am CST
We have some strange ways here in Greece and one of them involves suddenly forming relationships which once made are life lasting and taken with the utmost seriousness. So I now have a new Koubaros, which loosley translated means 'best man'. Which now makes me his 'Koubara'. From now on we will no longer address each other by name but by title. The long and the short of it is that if I ever choose to marry, my new Koubaros will 'marry me'. That is not to say we will marry each other but he would now stand at my side in the place of honour and be the most important person there, though no one else need be there. Most Greeks have a koubaros. I did agree to it though as one is not allowed to marry ones koubaros so at least I don't have to keep turning my friend down on a weekly basis. Phew. How to reject and keep friends at the same time, Greek style. I may as well reveal that the new Koubaros is the lobster fisherman, destined to be the new avatar. So any strange things like this in your culture, or sudden relationships which mean a lot in a traditional sense, or anything else you want to chat about?
2 people like this
9 responses
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
28 Sep 09
this certainly is an interesting tradition. is it only for formal occasions or does that mean you two would help each other out, in a routine manner, more than others. here relationships are a tradition in its own. every elder is uncle or aunt, every youngster is nephew or niece, and those of same age group are brothers and sisters/sister-in-laws (depending on marital status). now that you have the ideal koubaros, i guess it won't be a problem getting his photo (provided you have charged your camera)....
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
1 Oct 09
Hi Sunny, now the ongoing problem with the avatar picture continues. I charged the camera the other day but did it wrong. I have now turned the house upside down and cannot locate the charger lead anywhere but it must be here somewhere. Bit annoyed as I want the camera for something else too and I don't generally misplace things and even know how to identiy it. I had so many wires on the go yesterday though. The koubaros thing is basically a way of saying he's now sort of obliged to look after me and no doubt I'll be expected to turn up at family dinners. I also thought it might stop him asking me out all time but that's one Greek habit which apparently will never change. But he would stand up as well as the main witness if I ever marry, but it definitly won't be too him.
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
2 Oct 09
always good to have someone to look after you....as long as you don't have to marry... (i wonder why this thing has not caught up here..). gadgets do have a downside...lots of accessories. i am no stranger to such problems....until i tagged all the cables and made a special drawer for all of them....makes it a lot easier..
@fglswh (66)
• China
29 Sep 09
we have no such culture or relationship like what you described, but i have seen such relation in the movie "Friends". May i ask you some questions? how are your relationship in the real life? what is the criterion to find your Koubaros? do you know him very well? maybe our country is a little conservative, maybe the people in your country are more open minded than us.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
29 Sep 09
Hi fglswh, no this is not like 'Friends', we aren't that fancy out here. I refer really to just one part of rural Greek life which often revolves around my local fishing village and its community. Everyone knows everyone else and helps each other out or has feuds, all amongst neighbours. But as an incomer of 6 years to this area I like to observe the strange ways which are now becoming my ways to, and when something like Koubaros comes up it makes me feel fully integrated into the way of life. The Koubaros who chose me is a friend of six years standing who looks out for me along with many others, and gives me free fish and fruit. He will be there in a crisis to help. The people are very welcoming and certainly open minded.
@malpoa (1218)
• India
29 Sep 09
I learned two greek words today , thank you!! You mean koubaros is like the best man in English weddings? Here we arent used to anything like that..And the only experience i have about foreign wedding is pic where I saw my cousin marrying a londoner...Here in our custom, cousins marry each other...My elder sis is married to our second cousin! In our neighbouring state, uncle and neice marry u know? That is if my mother has a younger bro, I can be married to him!!! Sounds strange know?? I think thses practises were kept for not losing the ancestoral propert and wealth of the family...Like if I marry to an outsider, I will take away my share of wealth, right? Also marrying cousins has the same reason, previously joint family system was quite popular and to keep the wealth together, thses marriages were held. Also when my sister married, my father wasnt alive. WE have a custom called kanyadaan which is the giving of bride to the groom literally to his hand, and that is supposed to be done by the father, so in her case, my uncle did it...The person who does kanyadaan is like a father figure and also godfather like..he is given more respect and importance than before...
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
1 Oct 09
Hi Malpoa, there isn't really a way of translating the word Koubaros so it's like a family friend but we're on our own family wise except the godmother one and her family. All these cousins marrying cousins though I think must have gone on over here a lot as there are obvious signs in some of the people here of in breeding, and also a prevalence of certain hereditary things such as parkinsons disease. I'm glad you didn't have to marry your uncle. Did you get any say in the choice of your husband at all?
@malpoa (1218)
• India
12 Oct 09
Thank you , and thank you Thea Goodday
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
28 Sep 09
Y'all seem to have so many more customs than we do here. I'm glad we don't have so many don't think i could keep up w/them.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
28 Sep 09
Yassou Aunty, it's certainly hard to keep track of them all and what I'm meant to call all these people suddenly. I've already got a Koubarra but that one is legal with papers to prove it but I did have coffee with my new Koubarros this evening and he assures me there is no paperwork involved, just a lifetime obligation to give me the first of the pomegranates.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
28 Sep 09
I couldn't keep up w/all i'd have to do to follow all these customs u have, I don't believe he is the only character around if u get my drift, lol.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
29 Sep 09
Aunty there are so many strange characters locally you would not believe, and I probably know only a half of their secrets as yet, there are some people I just look at and think of something they have no idea that I know about. There is no point living in a 24 hour gossip village if you can't know lots about the people sat on the next table who think they know all about you. Course I'm never sure how much is embellished, either by themselves or others.
@ShepherdSpy (8562)
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
28 Sep 09
That is a very interesting relationship to be entering into,which I wasn't previously aware of in Greek Culture,or indeed in any other!..As You know,the UK tradition is to choose Your "Best Man" with their consent when planning the Wedding..Which brings with it all the responsibilities and etiquette expected of a Best Man..So How does the opportunity to become a Koubaros/a present itself? Can they be a relation,or a best Friend that you decide to "Promote"? If a Guy here has a best friend,the chances are He will be offered "The Job"..But it's the Male to Female dynamic that's interesting to Me..A Woman can have a Guy that close Who doesn't plan on being the one putting the ring on Her finger! Who proposes the Idea? Does the Chief Bridesmaid or Matron of Honour role exist,if the Koubaros has the Bride's role of Honour? I don't know how widespread the concept I've heard of is,but I've Heard of Girls having a close Guy Friend who have made a pact together,that if neither of them have married by the time they're 40,they'll marry one another! Again,how seriously that's been taken,I've never yet experienced the result..I've no big circle of friends,and most weddings I've been invited to have been family related over the Years..I've seen neighbours become as close as relatives,but there's no formalities involved..Having worked in Germany,there is a tradition there for Adults who befriend one another to continue using the formal form of "You" when addressing one another (Sie),then at a later stage decide to make the transition to use the Informal,Intimate form, (Du),although Young people tend to use Du amongst themselves..
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
28 Sep 09
Hi ShepherdSpy, maybe I didn't explain this very well but it is indeed a valid Greek relationship which once made one is stuck with. It really isn't anything to do with a wedding, though one day in the future that could be a part of it. And it's definitely a case of someone picking you rather than you picking them. I'll give you an example. I have a 50 year old friend who has never married and never will. He has a best friend who he grew up with and is close to still. The friends wife then decided that she would be the Koubara to my friend and now never calls him by name but Kouraros. He in turn is stuck with this and calls her koubara. The friend and husband has nothing to do with it all but their daughter is also called koubara by the friend. Now if one day my friend ever did get married then his friends wife would stand up beside him, so although it will never happen the relationship is there. For life. And everyone recognises the relationship and may speak of my friends friends wife as the koubara of my friend. There isn't a formality involved in the way of the godparent thing but it nonethe less is a recognised relationship and no doubt I will now be instructed to attend family dinners.
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
28 Sep 09
Possibly it was the "Best Man" idea that may have wrong footed Me..So He's best MAN in Your life without any wedding related commitments until that occasion arises,at which time the Best Man's Job still needs to be allocated?
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
29 Sep 09
I said loosley translated as because there is no equivalent English word to describe it, but it would really mean the person you can always rely on to help you out. He would also be the main witness at any wedding.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
28 Sep 09
Well that is a really cool little tradition. It made me smile. I can't think of a think like that over here, not one. Send coffee!
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
28 Sep 09
Drat, I was having an evening in the cafenion earlier and completely forgot the museum thing we had planned. Coffees on the way if you've made the white chocolate brownies
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
28 Sep 09
Here, I saved you one!
@jillhill (37384)
• United States
28 Sep 09
For the most part we just wing it here.....meet someone.......have a relationship and if it works out you can commit by either living together or getting married....or break if off and try to stay friends if you can....no sense getting rid of someone who might down the road look different.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
28 Sep 09
Hi jillhill, I hope you've misread all this, the very thought of me having a relationship or marrying the new koubaros is a total no go, in fact I presumed that if I agreed to go along with this he wouldn't be allowed to keep making his more than suggestive comments any longer, I thought he'd have to start behaving. He knows full well I'm in a relationship already but that doesn't put any of these Greeks off from still trying. But please, me and the lobster fisherman. My cunning ploy previously was to tell him I couldn't go out with him till he lost at least 70 kilos, I mean, as if.
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
28 Sep 09
So is he sorta like your best friend, or how exactly did he become your "best man"?
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
29 Sep 09
Hi Zeph, 'the walrus' is neither my best friend or my best man. In the intro I said that the the word Koubaros loosely translates into best man as there is no equivalent thing in English so no word for it. But he's now meant to be there as a permanent feature to lend me a hand, which he always would before anyway, and would be the main witness were I to ever marry. I also discovered from him last night that my son is also now expected to address him as 'koubaros' instead of by name. Anyway his picture will SOON be up as the new Avatar for this interest and it has only been delayed because of a technical hitch between me and my camera.
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
28 Sep 09
Hello my friend They have things like this here as well, but you all make it sound much more interesting, usually the best man is for the groom, I assume this could be the grooms brother or his best friend, woman have brides maids, maid of honor, I like how things are done in Greece, if people actually took thing more serious life would be alot more interesting here in the city, look forward to seeing your new avatar Have a great day my friend. Thank you for sharing this.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
29 Sep 09
Hi Kitty, I don't think I explained all this very well and should have highlighted the words that a koubaros roughly translates as a best man, as there is no English word to describe it. He would be the main witness at any wedding. But our customs are indeed fun Kitty and they when I'm included in them then it proves to me that I'm fully integrated into Greek life, rather than sitting on the sidelines with a bunch of ex pats.