Dowries aren’t much in fashion anymore these days – probably because, you know, paying someone to marry your daughter is not really conducive to a happy union.
But throughout pretty much all of history, up until just the last century or so, women had to bring something of substantial value with them into a marriage, if they hoped to make a good match.
For some cultures, that meant cold, hard cash, for others, a collection of valuable household items. In Greece, it was often…
…an area rug.
Yep, you read right. Brides looking forward to their very own big fat Greek weddings would often use an area rug as their dowry. But not just any area rug. The only type of rug Greeks deemed to be worthy of such use was the famed Flokati rug.
A Flokati rug is not just a rug. It’s an experience. It’s the embodiment of the pastoral life unique to the Greek mountains – the herds of fluffy, cream-colored sheep grazing on the green expanses of mountain fields, the joyfully bleating lambs romping in the warm Greek sunshine, and the thunder of nearby waterfalls echoing through the hills.
Nature has as much to do with the creation of these rugs as humans do. Maybe more. That’s why these rugs were – and still are – prized possessions, worthy of use as a dowry, handed down from generation to generation, carefully preserved and proudly displayed. Quite simply, they are works of art.
Flokati rugs have been made in the same way for centuries. Greek shepherds shear their sheep to obtain their pure, natural wool, which is then spun into yarn. This yarn is woven into long loops, which are then threaded through a pure wool rug backing. The pile is cut by hand to create the unique, traditional Flokati style.
But the best is yet to come. No Flokati rug is complete until it has been carried to a mountaintop waterfall, and washed in the swirling waters below for hours.
That’s right, an honest-to-goodness waterfall.
The rapid churning of the water beneath a Greek mountain waterfall fluffs the wool and makes it luxuriously soft.
This process cannot be duplicated in a factory. In order to be called a true Flokati, a rug must be washed in an actual waterfall.
Did we mention the waterfalls? These rugs are washed in waterfalls, people!
Once dried, these rugs are shipped all over the world, to anyone longing for a piece of the Greek countryside in their own home.
And due to the unique way in which these rugs are made, those people may get more of the Greek countryside than they expected – it’s not uncommon to find some natural debris lodged between the strands of wool, picked up on the trek back from the waterfall.
Once a Flokati rug has been shipped, it does need a little extra care in order to restore it to its full glory. After coming all the way from Greece, the wool will need fluffing. This can be done easily enough with a rake – that’s right, an actual garden rake. Gently raking, from the bottom up, will fluff the pile. Some wool will get caught on the rake, but this is normal.
Once fluffed, Flokati rugs should not be vacuumed like a normal area rug. Instead, they can be shaken out to remove dust, and washed with gentle wool detergent. If vacuuming is absolutely necessary, using only the suction head of the vacuum hose will keep the long, luxurious strands of wool safe.
So if you’re looking for a truly unique addition to your home decor – or heck, even if you’re shopping around for a dowry – a Flokati rug is the perfect choice. Check out our selection of authentic Flokati rugs for a one-of-a-kind glimpse into Greek country life.