Archive for the ‘Culture/Music/Film’ Category

Two days ago I received a message with an invitation to go to the church on Saturday morning to remember somebody who died a year ago. I knew A. well. She was the grandmother of the girl that baptized our son. We called each other “κουμπάρα/koubara”

In the Greek orthodox church it is a custom to remember somebody publicly at certain times after their death. Today was the year mark for A. A’s daughter’s and son and their children were there along with more family, friends and neighbors etc. I think it is good to remember those have passed away and that you loved, it lightens your sorrow a bit and I think it helps the bereaved to talk about that person and remember events that they were part of.

The family had a table decorated with flowers, a candle and a plate of koliva and all churchgoers received some koliva and other “treats” in rememberance of the deceased. May we remember her forever as the church says.


Koliva is made for funeral and memorial services and distributed to those in attendance. Koliva is made primarily of wheat, which is symbolic of life and regeneration.

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Agios Reginos day

Today, the 25th of February is the patron saint’s nameday and the whole island will celebrate. Goverment offices will be closed , taverna’s and coffee places will be open so you can go out.
A lot of people will visit the Agios Reginos monastery on the road going out of Skopelos over the hills. In the morning there is a church ceremony with a lot of people but you can visit the church later when it is less crowded. It will be open all day.

It is almost March and by tradition you need to be protected from the sun. Buy a March bracelet at Saintukeri if you want. The shop can be found near the small cafe and Mitsos bakery.

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Today it was the day of the Trates/Τράτες, a very old tradition on Skopelos and in my opinion, one that still needs guidance from the older generation on Skopelos. Although there were quite a few boats this year I missed the people that could built a bridge between the older and the younger participants of this phenomenon.

There were several captains who spoke to the crowd,I thought that the youngest son of the Gerakis family did a wonderful job as a captain. A loud commanding voice and very clearheaded. A joy to see. In the first photograph at the top of this post he is the one on the right and on the photo below he is the one on the far left

In the whole procession there was not a real leader who called the shots and when the procession was forbidden to go to the Christ church square’s because of Agios Reginos day on Tuesday a fight almost broke out.

Most crews of the boats were fantastic and showed us how this tradition can move forward and can survive but we all need to step up and participate otherwise there will be a time shortly when this day will not be celebrated anymore.

A good attempt was made though and the Cultural and Folklore organization was present and made sure all went well. Several locals came out and served drinks and food at the square’s where dancing and singing took place.

And most

boats ended up in the water in the end.

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Happening now….

Τρατες/Trates brought in town in by a father’s truck. It is great to see how parents teach their children this ancient tradition and help the youngsters get ready.

This τρατα/trata we found near the elementary school. If you want to follow them but can’t find them, try and listen to loud singing in the village. That is where they are…

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Temachio girino I kotopoulo

You either bbq them yourself or you buy them. We bought them. Very! well cooked. Outside the kantina we saw an early trata/τρατα. The boat sailed away a couple of minutes later.

Early trata

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Get silly

Today, is charred Thursday. It is really the first day of the Greek carnival period when people can start acting silly. I saw the owner of a bakery in a babydoll this morning and many more people on Skopelos will start dressing up from today.
A lot of cross dressing also takes place. Men is women’s clothes and women in men’s clothes.

Because of charred Thursday the meat that is being cooked/grilled will sometimes be overcooked on purpose, it is all part of the tradition. It is basically the last day of the period before Easter when meat can be consumed. Many people will start fasting and that sometimes means not only they don’t eat meat but eggs, milk, butter, oil too.

If you want to join in tonight with the crowd take a cork from a bottle, light it for a bit and once it has cooled off start painting your face. Go out tonight and visit one of the bars that are open. You might not recognize everybody but they all we be in a good mood. From today and the next few days dirty jokes will fly around and pranks are being played on friends. Groups of friends will visit houses tonight or roam the streets and will make a lot of noise.

On Sunday it is time for the Carnival event Trates/Τράτα/Τράτες. In Skopelos town around midday a τράτα will be built somewhere in the harbor. Watch out for that and after that the cultural organization will take the τράτα and will lead the procession with the other τράτες through the village. A group of friends are usually the ones that will built a τράτα. Last year there were 7 if I remember correctly. There will be a lot of smoke (the trates need to be able to sail) but it will be colorful, there will be singing, shouting and dancing. A designated captain will stop the crowd every once in a while and will start telling dirty jokes that the crowd responds to. Skopelitans that live in the area will come out of their houses and will serve drinks and snacks to the participants.

To better understand the meaning and the origins of the Trata I have again taken the quote of Isabel Demsey book Breath of madness on the isle of Skopelos.

“It’s well known that the roots of Carnival spring from ancient festivals honoring Dionysus, the god of wine, madness and resurrection. The origins of the Trata, the ritual Skopelitan ship procession probably lie in the ancient ship procession of the Great Dionysia festival, which was introduced in Athens in the sixth century, BC.This festival was celebrated at the end of winter to insure the arrival of spring and the fertility of the vine and trees over which Dionysus presided. The festival was associated with the myth which tells us how Tyrrhenian pirates attempted to carry off Dionysus in their ship, but vines grew up around the mast and sail and the frightened pirates dove into the sea and became dolphins.

At the end of the walk through the village on Skopelos the trates/τράτες will be thrown in the sea at the end of the procession.

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Make it possible

The second grade of the high school in Glossa are organising a Valentines party tomorrow, Friday in bar Pixida. The class is trying to go on a school trip but more money is needed. Dress up and you are welcome from 21.30 hours. Entrance 7 euro’s (including a drink) Pixida is at the beginning of the road to Loutraki, on the left hand side of the road going down from Glossa.

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