After our parent's 50th wedding anniversary in Greece, also known as GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY, we started asking ourselves where the name came from. You may know what a golden wedding anniversary is, but do you know how and when it started?
Apparently they originated in Germany in the Middle Ages. In those days, for the 25th wedding anniversary, noblewomen were given a silver crown, now known as the silver wedding anniversary. Life expectancy was not the same then as it is now. Many did not live long enough to celebrate 50 years of marriage. The evolution of humanity brought greater well-being and quality of life, which over the years increased life expectancy to the levels we know today. Human beings live longer, couples can live more years together and celebrate more years of marriage than they did more than five centuries ago. Life expectancy has changed our way of life and has brought new celebrations.
Golden weddings are especially important. They are called golden because gold represents strength, shining beauty and endurance. Gold is one of the most precious metals that exists and the process of extracting it is difficult and complicated, not easy, as life together for 50 years is not easy. Sharing day-to-day life for 50 years requires a lot of love, but that is not all; love alone is not enough. Life brings and carries problems of all kinds and you have to go through ups and downs, storms that sometimes shake pillars, even those stronger than a great love. To love we must add a great dose of patience, understanding , wisdom and the ability of forgiving. We must not forget respect, respect for one another; without respect it is very difficult for a relationship to last many years. All this makes the Golden Wedding Anniversary important, because it is a celebration of a whole life together; a life full of experiences and memories for the couple and also for those around them. No matter what form you choose for the celebration, the important thing is to create new memories to keep on adding to those 50 years of love.
I think that was our parents' idea when, a couple of years ago, they started thinking about celebrating their GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY. They couldn't think of anything better than to invite the whole family to a Mediterranean cruise; we obviously loved the idea. The complicated part was getting us all together in one place because we are a family that is spread around the world; a brother in Canada, I am in Germany and the rest in Spain. The cruise departed from Rome. Our brother from Canada flew in with his daughter and girlfriend, the ones in Spain flew in from Madrid, and my husband and I went directly from Berlin; we were seventeen in total. It was the month of July and the airports were full, I think it was one of the busiest days and there was total chaos everywhere. We have traveled a lot, but that day was horrendous, something never seen before. There were people everywhere, running around, not knowing what to do, the check-in machines were not working and there was no way to check-in our suitcases. The ones that were in Madrid were beginning to fear that they would miss their flight and consequently the cruise because they were also in the same situation. Finally everyone was able to board, take off and arrive to the first destination, Rome. With so much confusion at the airport, they lost my niece's suitcase, the poor thing was very upset, it seems the bag never arrived to Rome , she was hoping they would find it; they never did. We still laugh everytime we remember this first part of the trip and how happy we all were when we finally got to Rome.
The cruise was a wonderful experience. We did it with Royal Caribbean, it was a trip around the Greek islands. Our first stop was Santorini, an island that does not disappoint despite having seen it a thousand times in photographs and in movies. The second stop was the Island of Mykonos, very different from Santorini, but charming and welcoming; we will never forget when my brother, from Canada, lost track of time in one of the beautiful tavernas in Mykonos and almost didn’t make it back to the cruise. The tension grew as they kept repeating my brother and sister in law's names on the PA system while announcing that the ship had to depart. When he told us that it was all because he had proposed to his girlfriend watching the beautiful Mykonos sunset, we quickly celebrate and forgave them! Another stop was Katakolon where we visited the ruins of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Last but not least we stopped in Athens, where the group split up because my parents and I had already visited it. We went to visit the Temple of Poseidon.
It was our first cruise. My mother who had never wanted to go on a cruise, even though my father had always wanted to, finally agreed to book one. She did it to make him happy and to celebrate with all of us their big day : their 50th anniversary. She said that it was the only way to have all of us together, for a week, without any of us being able to escape (LOL). It was a wonderful and unique experience that will live forever, a week in which fantastic memories were created.
On the flight back, one of the stewardesses asked my eleven year old newphew how come we were such a big group and he told her that we were returning from celebrating his grandparents' GOLDEN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. She found it so heartwarming that they offered us champagne to celebrate. That was just the cherry on top to finish what had been an unforgettable trip for the whole FAMILY.
Whether it is a cruise, traveling to the place the couple first met or preparing a special party with vow renewals, the golden anniversary is a very special ocassion that celebrates love and family. How would you celebrate your silver or golden anniversary?