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Custom Celebrations

"Hiding the Antidoro" Custom in Skra

As a good luck charm, to bring good fortune and protect the village from evil, a piece of holy bread is implanted and sealed every year, on the second day of Easter, inside the trunk of the oldest tree in the oak forest of the area.Thus, the village and its hospitable inhabitants are protected from pitfalls and misfortune.


Custom of Beis

This custom symbolizes the land’s fertility and it is celebrated on Tyrini’s Monday in the village of Mandres.

A wagon, decorated by the villagers, in which the Beis sits, symbolizing the landowner of the old times, goes from house to house asking for the "tax", that was paid by the Greeks during the Ottoman occupation. The housewives offer them wine, appetizers and desserts, and the landowner of the house pays the 'tax' in cash, grains or other goods.

On the next day, Beis with his escort wanders the village throwing cereals in the houses’ yards, in order to have a productive year, while the housewives offer the food that is auctioned on the Sunday of Tyrini, which is also the day that this custom closes its cycle with a great celebration.


Custom of St.John Klidonas

The word "Klidonas" comes from the ancient Greek word "Klidon", which means a predicting sound and it is used to describe the combination of random and incoherent words during the rituals of prophesying.Essentially, "Klidonas" is related to the folk oracular process, which is said to reveal the identity of their future spouse to the unmarried girls.

This custom is celebrated by the Ionians of Polykastro on June 24th.According to custom, on the eve of St. John the young unmarried girls are trying to guess who they will marry. Then, they silently fill a copper or clay pot with water (the silent water) throwing into it various objects that have ‘studied’ in the name of the boy who they want to marry and then one of the girls -not an orphan- pulls out the items one by one while singing the song of St. Klidonas.

Erotic and satirical couplets, along with traditional music, songs and bonfires where the MayDay wreaths are burned, surround the ceremony.



The custom of Lazarus (Lazarines) is celebrated during the weekend before the Holy Week by the Cultural Association of Mandres, in the village Mandres.

According to the custom, on the Saturday of Lazarus, a group of children wander from house to house singing the Carols of Lazarus.The housewives offer the children treats, money, eggs etc. in return.When the group leaves a house, the housewife throws a glass of water on a girl, a move that symbolizes the rains of April.The carols present a good opportunity for matchmaking as well, for the mother in law to choose a possible bride.

On the next day, along with instruments and various traditional dishes, the young people of the Dance classes of the Cultural Association of Mandres, start from the home of the "Mother of Lazarus" and while dancing and singing they are directed to the house of the "godmother of Lazarus" to announce her happy news of the Resurrection of Lazarus.


Marriage in Paeonia

In Paeonia, the process of the wedding started several days earlier. On Wednesday there was the call of guests. On Thursday, the bride spread out in a room her dowry for the relatives and friends to admire and during that evening, the first feast was held. On the same day the groom, escorted by relatives went to the home of the best man to arrange for the final procedures of the marriage.

On Friday, relatives of the groom took the "wedding bun" along with gifts to the bride.

On Saturday evening the festivities began in both houses with lots of music and feasting.

On Sunday morning, the bride’s dowry was transported to the groom's house and at noon the shaving of the groom took place along with music. The groom, his relatives and the best man went to the bride's house to take her and escort her to the church.

After the coronation, the newlyweds went to the groom's house where the feasting and dancing followed, while the friends of the groom burned his mother’s kerchief.

After the Sunday's wedding, it was customary for the bride to go to the village’s fountain holding a copper pot that had various coins and when she was rinsing it the coins fell in the fountain that youngsters who were gathered there picked up.


St.George's Kourmpani

The Kourmpani (which means "sacrifice") is a custom with roots in the ancient times, when the ancient Greeks sacrificed animals to the gods to appease them and to have good omens.

The main Kourmpani of the Anatolikoromyliotes in Polykastro is the one that is performed in honor of St. George.Usually, April almost always coincides with the Lent and St. George’s Day is celebrated at the second day of Easter.Therefore, the Kourmpani takes place on the Monday after the first Sunday of Easter, on the hill of St. Nektarios, the usual place of sacrifice.

Men from every neighborhood butcher Zygouria (young sheep) in the morning and then boil them.In this place, the men set up barbecues and tables with various dishes while tsipouro and wine flow abundantly.Many people visit the area to try the delicacies.

In the afternoon, the women gather to form a semicircle, each on the opposite side of the cauldron of the neighborhood with metal utensils.The priest blesses the bystanders while they wish each other for good yields, health and peace in the world.Some of the dance classes of the Association perform traditional dances of Eastern Romelia and then they share the Kourmpani.In the evening, at the 28th October square, there is always music and a feast takes place.(FromthearchivesofHeleniChamouroudi)


St.Tryfona's Kourmpani

Saint Tryphon, protector of viticulture is honored in Goumenissa.St. Tryphon’s Kourmpani is held on February 1st at the chapel of St. Tryphon.

In the church’s courtyard a kitchen with pots from volunteer cooks is set up and early in the morning the beef is slaughtered and boiled in large cauldrons.

Once the boiling is finished, immediately after the service, the priest blesses it and then he distributes it to the people.

The animal sacrifice is offered by the faithful wine growers to St. Tryphon to protect their production. The famous 'Halkina of Goumenissa" also participate in the celebration, while wine from Goumenissa is offered to the attendees.


The Custom of Perperos

This is a custom celebrated in Kilkis, on the first Sunday after St. George’s Day and always on the day before the Kourmpani.

The custom of "Perperos or Pirperoudas or Pirpero" has ancient roots and it arrived in this region along with refugees from Eastern Romelia.It is a request to God for rain or drought, depending on the weather.

The ritual requires the "Perpero or Pirperouda Pirpero or" to be orphaned by father or mother, and to lead a group of 10 to 12 girls aged up to 15 years old and to stand among them with her costume, a hair wreath and the greens around her waist.

The girls’ team, led by «Perpero», is holding a brass pot with water and a bunch of greens, roam in the houses of the village and sprinkle their yards singing the song of "Perpero".The housewives are waiting in front of their homes to get sprinkled with water and offer them different ingredients, with which the bread is kneaded on the next day for the 'Kourmpani'.

"Perpero" holds a sieve for the weather forecast, which is made ​​by tossing the utensil in the air.If this falls backwards, then a period of drought should be expected, while if it falls normally it means that rain will come.


The Custom of Sintiaka

Sintianka (which means a sitting gathering, a reunion) is an impressive custom that one can encounter in Kilkis, which takes place at the end of summer by lighting a large fire under the sounds of local musical instruments.Qurbani, is also another ancient custom that is revived regularly, as well as the "Carnival of Aspros".

In Eastern Romelia, where the custom of sintianka comes from, this was more of a habit.

On the warm autumn afternoons until the first cold days of winter, the women took their distaffs or spindles to spin the gathered wool, they "met" at the crossroads for a little chat, discuss their news, share their problems.Since the darkness fell quickly, they used to light large fires.

Men and women, young and old, gathered in groups and sang love songs.

The men saw to the fire by bringing large bundles of cobs as the women sat around the fire and took care of labor they had brought from home (spinning, knitting, etc.) while singing.The sweet-voiced women sang first and the others repeated the verses.
The fire was strong and made the area shine, because it had to act as lighting by electricity, which wasn’t available at the time.

Today, in remembrance of the above, the Association of Anatolikoromyliotes in Polykastro organizes every year, in mid-September, a celebration in the center of the town and many people participate.


The Monk Custom

Celebrated on the Baptist’s Day, on the Sunday of Kreatini and it is associated with the fertility of the soil.The refugees from the villages in Eastern and Northern Thrace brought this custom back from their homelands.

Only the men of the village participate in the custom and the central figures of this ceremony are: the Monk, the old lady with the baby, the bride, the katsiveles and the lads, who wander around the village with smeared faces and steal various objects from the houses, which then return if the house-owners offer a payment in return.

The celebration ends at the village square, with virtual plowing of the fields, the lads carry the oxcarts instead of the oxen and the Monk is sowing and makes "piquant" wishes for the fertility of the fields.


The Mpampo Celebration

A custom with ancient roots that was brought into the area by the refugees from Eastern Thrace, the MPAMPO celebration is revived every year on the 7th and 8th of January by the women of the villages Aspros and Kalindria and is one of the most typical traditional events.

With this custom, “Mpampo”, the midwife of the village is honored. Mpampo was a special person for the small communities of that era, especially regarding women.

By honoring Mpampo, the people honored the life, the fertility and the woman, who through the sufferings of childbirth turns into a mother.

On the first day of the celebration, the women of the village who are older than 40 years are gathered and elect the "Mpampo".Then, together they roam around the village with a bucket of water and basil, sprinkling and blessing the new couples, mainly the engaged and newlywed, offering their wishes for a happy marriage and procreation.

On the second day of the celebration, the women gather together on the streets wearing the beautiful traditional costumes of Eastern Romelia.On that day it is forbidden for the men to walk around in the village.They have to stay at home and do all the household chores that the women usually do throughout the year.If a man is caught walking on the road that day, he is expected to treat all the women.

The festival culminates at the village square with a feast that lasts until the morning, with plenty of wine, music, songs, theatrical performances and comical improvisations with origins from Aristophanes, as this celebration is a day of liberal speech for the women; except for the unmarried ones, who cannot participate.


The Pontian Wedding

The Pontian Greeks used the term "pleasure" instead of the word marriage, emphasizing on the happy event of the wedding.

On Saturday night, two separate celebrations were taking place, one at the home of the groom and one at the home of the bride. In the Pontian wedding, for any act or habit done, the best man, the groom or the relatives have to give money in return. For example, the shaving of the groom where the barber pretends that the razor does not cut, expecting a bonus from the best man.

On Sunday, early in the afternoon, the groom, best man, relatives and friends begin with the escort of musical instruments for “nyfeparman”, i.e. to get the bride. There, the best man has to pay for the bride to wear her shoes and the farewell party takes place just before they leave for the wedding.

During the coronation ceremony, when the priest says "Isaiah dance" the friends of the best man that stand behind him, lift him up and will let him down only when he offers a tip.

After the crowning, the wedding procession heads to the groom's house where the bride will break a plate for good luck. Late in the afternoon, the wedding dinner follows accompanied by music and dancing while the guests bring gifts for the newlyweds.

In many villages, especially in those where the residents originate from Caucasus, like Iliolousto and Chorygi, the guests offer money to the newlyweds and the best man.

The Pontian wedding ends on the dawn of Monday with music and dancing.


The Thracian Wedding

The Thracian marriage begins on Saturday afternoon, with the women of the bride’s family preparing her while following the ritual tradition.

On Sunday morning, the preparations and traditions continue. The father of the bride holding the wedding bun gives his wishes and then they break the bun on the bride's head and offer it to the family members.

Meanwhile, the groom is prepared and dressed with the help of his friends, while the best man and the family accompanied with musical instruments head to the house of the bride.

There, the friends of the bride hide one of her shoes and the best man must pay to get it back for the bride to wear.

The father and brother of the bride escort her out of the house, where the farewell dance is held and then the wedding procession heads towards the church.

After the coronation ceremony, everybody, accompanied by the musical instruments goes to the groom's house where they are welcomed by his mother; she empties two glasses before their feet, one with water and one with wine and then she offers them a sweet. The newlyweds, after passing the door, should tread on iron with their right foot, which means that their marriage and new home will be iron-strong and robust.  After that, the mother in law offers the bride a loaf of bread for good luck.

Then the feast takes place, which usually lasts until morning.


The Vlach Wedding

The Vlach wedding is a custom with roots in the ancient Greek Dionysian traditions.

The marriage of Sarakatsani started a week before the ceremony. On the Sunday before the wedding, youngsters call their relatives from house to house and offer them ouzo. On Wednesday, in the houses of the bride and groom they were making yeast for the wedding buns, on Thursday they kneaded and baked it. This process was accompanied with songs and dancing. On Friday, at the home of the groom they were preparing the Banners, a kind of pennant for the marriage. On Saturday, the guests visited the house of the bride and groom and brought gifts to the newlyweds and the feast held until dawn.

On Sunday, after shaving the groom, he put on his good suit and they headed singing for the bride's house, riding their horses.

There, full tables were waiting with both sides of the families, who offered the wedding buns to each other. After the treats and feast the bride started the farewell dance and then she got on a white horse and headed for the church.

The coronation ceremony took place in the village of the groom. After the coronation, they all went together to the groom's house, where the final feast would take place. In the dances, the first dancer always held the Banners and the feast continued until the early morning.


Traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas-Theofany

Throughout the festive period of Christmas, New Year’s and until the Theophany, customs in Kilkis are both interesting and important.


On the Christmas Eve, as in all of Greece, the Christmas carols are sung. Groups of young boys and girls get out on the streets to carry the good news of the birth of Christ. These songs give greetings to the family men of the house with the familiar phrase "Good evening lords, the divine birth of Christ I came to announce to your house..."

More carols are sung, depending on the origin and the specific region of the people, e.g. Pontos, Thrace; or depending on their profession, e.g. Farmers, ranchers, etc.

The people usually offer various treats or money to the youngsters singing the carols.

If someone did not open their door, the carols took the form of teasing, such as "My Lord, in your cape there are a thousand lice, others spawn, others thread, others gather eggs..."

Other Christmas Traditions

  • Custom "Kolinte". It revives in the region of Paeonia, on Christmas Eve.
  • Custom "Rousalides". It’s celebrated from the third day of Christmas until St. John’s Day.


Like in every part of Greece, the New Year's carols are sung, welcoming the new year. The youngsters go from house to house singing carols and the housekeepers welcome them joyfully rewarding them with goodies or money.

The most common song is the "First day of the month and first day of the year, My tall rosemary, may we have a good year, etc."

The first foot of the New Year. Amuchwidespread custom, according to which the first visit of the New Year plays a role on what will happen throughout the year, so the first person to come in the house was of great importance. A person considered a hoodoo oughtto be avoidedtoenter the house first, while a lucky person entering the house for the first time that year would bring good luck.

The custom of "Camel" in Kilkis , is revived onNew Year’s Day

The custom of "Momoeron" starts from the New Year’s Day until the Theophany and it is revived by the Pontian Association of Kilkis.


An important celebration of Christianity with a special celebratory ritual is the sanctification of the waters, which always attracts the participation of many believers.

On the Epiphany or Theophany the waters are sanctified in order to make the evil spirits disappear, which, as the tradition says, are circulating from the day of the Christ’s birth until his christening.

During the ceremony of blessing the waters in Kilkis, in the places where there is no lake or river, the waters around the church or at the baptismal font are sanctified.

The sanctification of the waters of Lake Doirani, rivers Axios and Gallikos are impressive with the immersion of the Holy Cross, wheere young people, dive into the waters to retrieve it.


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