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Gamopilafo, a traditional Cretan dish for weddings and gatherings, symbolizes fertility. Men prepare it together, with a unique ritual.


Gamopilafo is a popular dish of Crete which is traditionally served at weddings. Nowadays, it is also served at christenings and engagement parties, as well as on holidays, when there are guests and whenever groups of friends and relatives get together.

Made with rice, meat broth and stakovoutiro it is the basic dish for Cretan weddings, where the rice in gamopilafo symbolizes settling down, fertility and the wishes for an abundance of good things for the newlyweds. Moreover, the use of rice in connection with weddings is a custom with roots in Greek antiquity, which persists up to today, since at every Greek wedding, rice is thrown at the bride and bridegroom in order for the couple to establish ‘good roots’.

What is little known, however, is that gamopilafo is not made by the women of the house, but by the men!  By tradition, the men of the island undertake the task of making this most important dish, and every family has its own pilafi specialists. The men gather together in a large group, bringing with them large pots and light the fires to cook the pilafi. Afterward, when the cooking is done, they assume this most onerous of tasks: the cleaning of the cooking the pots without the help of the women!

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