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Folegandros island culture

Local Feasts – Special Events

Easter Events

Easter is celebrated in Folegandros in a special way, as, apart from the usual customs that you will find also in the rest of the islands or in Mainland Greece, here you will also attend the three-day process of the wonder working icon of Panaghia (Virgin Mary). By the noon of the Easter day the locals bring the icon from the church on the hill, down to Chora and carrying it, they pass from every house of the settlement. As the process continues its route within the narrow streets, the owners of the houses and the stores receive it with respect and joy, offering sweets and raki to the people following the process, while hundreds of fireworks lighten the sky. In the evening of the same day, the icon is given to the residents of Ano Meria, who receive it with a local feast and keep it for the next day, when the process continues, always on foot, to visit all the cottages and farms there. In Monday evening the icon returns to Chora and is kept in the church of Pantanassa within the castle. From here, on Tuesday, the last day of the process, it is carried to Petoussis and Livadi, two small farmers’ settlements. From there it proceeds to the port of Karavostassis, where it is received not only in the houses and the stores, but even in the boats, since every one desires to receive the benediction of the wonder working icon. The process is received even by and the ferry boat, if it happens to be at the port. Finally, from the port the icon returns back to Chora and is kept again in the church of the hill until the next process.

The whole event takes place within an atmosphere of joy, with songs, amusement and lots of fireworks. Whenever the icon stops at a house or store, the locals receive the young people carrying the icon, the priests and the public following them, with blessings and offer to them local wine or raki, sweets of the Easter and warm hospitality.
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Wedding ceremonies and private feasts

Several wedding ceremonies that take place on the island are done in the traditional way: on the wedding day the relatives and friends of the two families go to the church accompanied by local musicians, playing the local musical instruments, usually a violin and a tabor. After the ceremony has finished, every guest is offered a piece of “pasteli”, the typical wedding sweet, made of sesame and local honey. And afterwards a great feast starts, with wine, music and dance, which may last for the whole day and night. The preparations of the wedding and the feast, the “sesame” as it the locals call the process, last a whole week and it is an activity carried out mainly by the women.

Apart from weddings, the visitors often have the chance to attend to local feasts, either religious (“panighyri”) or private ones. There are also the improvised feasts that start when the local musicians begin playing music in a café or just at a square. On the sounds of music, every one is gathered at the place, start to drink wine, ouzo or “rakomelo” and dance the nice dances of the island: “balos”, “syrtos” and “sousta”. It is the old bacchic combination of drink and dance which very soon ends up to a great crazy feast with lots of fun and amusement, attracting both locals and the visitors. The only traditional features that does not exist today is the image of the old men of the island wearing breeches, the traditional dress of men, which now has been totally abandoned.

 

The “Isolario” Project

The “Isolario” Project, as the organizers (Media dell’ Arte) state, is a series of cultural, research and ecological activities developing in Cyclades.

The project aims at the realization of a permanent network of communication and cooperation between the islands of the Cyclades, mainly the smaller of them. Through this network it is attempted to protect the cultural diversity of the islands and study and realize alternative ways of development. Also, these activities aim to stress the attention of the whole world on the Cycladic islands and their originality and make known special aspects of this diversity.

Since 2003 the organizers of the project run the summer festival of Folegandros under the name “Folegandros Festivities”, which is a pilot project. In 2007 more islands have been included to the project, as Sikinos and Donousa. The project is realized in cooperation with the Community authorities of the participant islands and it is financed by public or private associations, supporting the project with sponsorships.
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Folegandros Festivities

Since 2003, there are organized every year, in July, the summer cultural activities known as “Folegandros Festivities”. This festival is part of the “Isolario” project, a series of activities that started to run in 2003 at Folegandros and year after year are covering other small islands of the Cyclades.

During the festival, the island of Folegandros obtains a new look, more intellectual and cultural. The narrow streets and the squares of Chora receive several people of all ages with common interests and ideas, who realize and attend theatrical plays, films, music concerts, speeches on various topics, dance performances and other activities.

The events don’t take place only in Chora. Cultural activities, happenings and athletic games are also organized in Ano Meria, Karavostassi(s) and Angali, offering calmness and joy within the beautiful and original landscape of Folegandros.
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