What Is Koufeta?
Koufeta are sweet sugar almonds that are traditionally used as wedding bomboniere (wedding favours) for the guests at a Greek wedding. The Koumbaro/The Best Man will usually purchase the koufeta as one of their gifts to the Bride and Groom on their wedding day. People often ask about the number of koufeta that should be used inside the bomboniere and why it is said that it should only be an odd number. Here are some interesting facts about the number of koufeta in bomboniere:
Why do we choose odd numbers for the koufeta?
The Greeks use an odd number of koufeta in the bonbonerie and on the wedding tray because an odd number is not divisible by 2. This represents the idea that the number can not be divided as so, the new couple will never be divided or brake up.
Why should the number of koufeta be a prime number?
The koufeta within the bonbonierie should be a prime number, namely: 1,2,3,5,7,11,13,17 because prime numbers are divisible only by unit -1 – by themselves and no other number. The unit -1 – symbolizes that only one thing, death, can separate the couple and the division of the numbers by themselves symbolizes the fact that the wife and husband themselves and their egos can bring their union into separation.
How many koufeta should be used?
The wedding bonbonierie is traditionally composed of an odd number of koufeta 3-5-7-9-11 . The most common number is 7, as are the Divine Mysteries of the Church.
Others say that the number of koufeta should just be 5, symbolizing health, joy, fertility, prosperity and longevity.
Is Koufeta used for anything else apart from the wedding bonbonerie?
Koufeta is also placed on the wedding tray along with the stefana (and red ribbon/rose petals for those who come from Cyrprus or a few of the smaller Greek Islands). The number of koufeta placed on the wedding tray should also be an odd/prime number.
Koufeta is served to the guests at the house on the morning of the wedding as everyone is getting ready. It is also a tradition that single women should sleep with koufeta under their pillow at night so they can have a sweet life.
Koufeta is also used for other parties and celebrations such as Christenings.
In the early days of the Church, honey dipped almonds were offered to the newlyweds by the priest. Today the koufeta has evolved in to a product of different shapes, flavours and colours but it still has a strong symbolic meaning at a wedding. The egg shape represents fertility and the new life which begins with marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage and the sweetness of the sugar symbolizes the sweetness of future life.
What colour Koufeta should be used?
Traditionally for a wedding, white koufeta is used. The white symbolizes purity.
However many couples these days are matching their bonbonerie and koufeta with the wedding themes and use colours such as gold and silver. Gold and silver koufeta colours are available on the Greek Wedding Shop as well as other colours such as pink, blue, green and orange.
Is it ok to use flavoured Koufeta?
Flavoured koufeta is becoming more and more popular. It tastes sweeter and they are nicer to eat. You can find a range of different koufeta flavours on the Greek Wedding Shop including: strawberry, lemon, pistacio, hazelnut and caramel.
The tradition of giving favours to wedding guests has become popular around the world. Today this tradition is practiced by people of all cultures and not just the Greeks. As the tradition has spread across the western world, there have been changes to the traditional koufeta sugar almonds used as bonbonerie. Chocolate hearts are commonly used as well as pearl shaped hazel nuts and some use the couples favourite lollies instead of the almonds.
How many koufeta did you put inside your bomboniere?
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Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.