“And now the groom can kiss the bride… wait… never mind”. When we think of a wedding, we immediately imagine flowers, the bride in her amazing white dress, a church, the rings… well, this is not the case!
Forget everything because that’s definitively not the kind of wedding we are going to talk about.
In the Aeolian Islands people celebrate a very special union. The spouses? Two cliffs.
This rite dates back to the 80’, when the Aeolian artist Geri Palamara wed for the first time Pietra Lunga (the groom) and Pietra Menalda (the bride) on 31stAugust 1981.
The two cliffs, classified as “necks” or volcanic spines, are situated near the southern coast of Lipari and only 50 mt of sea separate the two lovers. They are one of the most suggestive, fascinating and iconic landmarks of the Aeolian Islands. Even Homer dedicated some verses in his Odyssey to the description of the astonishing and wild “Wandering Rocks”, seen by Ulysses during his incredible voyage.
A legend says that, originally, they were two young lovers, but a cruel man threw them into the sea, causing their deaths. They were transformed into two cliffs, but unable to touch each other.
Now let’s go back to the ceremony. On the wedding day a colourful and cheerful crowd of hundreds of boats decorated with flowers and lead by a sailing-ship reunites under the cliffs with fishermen from all the islands coming to celebrate the union and sing together.
Therefore, they unite the two cliffs with strong ropes, symbolizing two arms bonding in a passionate hug, and flowers are thrown in the sea while a ballad seals this magical moment.
As its creator said: “It is a message to all humanity, a call to say that love exists and that often people forget about it. It is a symbol of the relationship between man and nature, between earth and sky, between earth and sea […]”.