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The best man and chief bridesmaid walk behind the couple, holding the stefana in place.

Northern Cyprus is self-governing and still occupied by the Turkish army, but is not recognised internationally.

surround the wedding couple, incorporating the best man (koumbaros) and chief bridesmaid (koumbara), the bridal couple’s families, their friends — often their entire village — and numerous rituals that symbolize the couple’s commitment to each other and their place in Cypriot culture.

On the day of the wedding, when the bride is dressed and ready to leave for the ceremony and while musicians play and sing, the bride’s parents, chief attendant (koumbara) and close friends wrap a red scarf around her waist and head to symbolize her virginity.

the priest gives the couple ceremonial bread (prosfora) to eat and red Cypriot wine (koumandaria) to drink, symbolizing the wedding at Cana in Galilee, where Christ blessed the marriage and converted water into wine.

The bride’s chief attendant places on the bride’s head a ceremonial headband (stefana), traditionally made of materials ranging from lemon leaves, olive branches and vines to gold and jewels, and symbolizing God’s blessings.