Mamma Mia and Greek Culture
The movie Mamma Mia was one of the most popular films of the year 2008. People who are fans of the band ABBA no doubt loved the film for its clever use of the songs of the band. People who are fans of Meryl Streep will often watch her in anything, and in this film, she managed to demonstrate that she has vocal talent to complement her acting talent. People who are fans of the stage production that inspired the film in the first place most likely enjoyed the film adaptation.
However, the film was also a big hit among the people who are interested in Greek culture and Greek weddings. These same people probably already got enthusiastic about the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and they are probably waiting in anticipation for the sequel to the film. Mamma Mia isn’t especially faithful to traditional Greek weddings, even though the story is set on an idyllic Greek island. Some of the floral decorations that are used during the wedding in the film and during the reception have a certain Greek flavor to them, but other than that, the Greek aspect of the wedding and the Greek aspect of the film in general is fairly understated. Mamma Mia is a film about love and happiness, and the wedding, the gifts, and the presents involved are not really focal points.
Gifts at Real Greek Weddings
However, people who are interested in Greek weddings and Greek culture should certainly learn about the fundamentals of one of the most important parts of any culture. Weddings are major moments in people’s lives, and the way in which people act out and celebrate weddings says a lot about the culture in question. Lots of Greek people around the world no longer choose to have traditional Greek weddings. However, plenty of them still do, and their wedding traditions may surprise some people.
Some Americans might be surprised to learn that giving money is very popular at traditional Greek weddings (not that traditional gifts are not suitable.). Even at ancient Greek weddings, giving money was hardly uncommon. Greek culture in general tends to value money and financial success, even to a degree that would surprise many Americans. The ABBA song Money, Money, Money was prominently featured in the film Mamma Mia. To the Swedish band ABBA, a song like that has a certain depressed cynicism to it. Many Americans can and did feel the same way. However, it is possible that many Greek viewers reacted to the song very differently, given their culture.
Given food at Greek wedding ceremonies is also very popular. The Greeks are not people who are known for shying away from good food and drink. Mamma Mia does try to capitalize on this aspect of Greek culture, at least to a certain extent. However, the effect is going to be even more pronounced at a good portion of Greek events. Of course, many Americans would probably feel more comfortable giving something like Greek-themed jewelry, which is also popular at Greek weddings, and which has the advantage of outlasting money or food.