Tradition and Culture
Greece is well known for its long tradition. According to the landscape, the historical events, the climate changes, the social background, the persona and the mentality of the people, each area creates a unique way of life with ts own history, customs and ethics, with its own music, folk dances, religious festivities and remarkable characteristics concerning their daily life and ceremonies.
Mani is one of them as well, functioning ever since like an autonomous state and forming its own tradition. Thus the ‘Miroloyi’, deep mourning addressed to the dead people as a farewell to the underworld. ‘Miroloyi’, derives form the ancient Greek Tragedy with the arch-singer and the choir following the mourning. Unfortunately very few women, arch-mourners have been left behing and the custom has been almost eliminated.
Then the traditional Wedding Ceremony, is still performed in some villlages in Mani, where the bride and the groom riding on horses are accompanied by a group of musicians and all the guests, heading to the church where the wedding ceremony will take place. Besides the ceremony there are many small procedures and events, normal customs, accompaning the ceremony.
The ‘child’s birth and especially the ‘male heir’ and ‘gun’ in the old times of the big family, has been also a very remarkable event, where the community of men mainly celebrate with applause, big fiestas with food and greek wine and many gun-shots on the air.
The baptism of the child, where the Christian name is given, following the tradition of the parent’s or parents’ in law names, is also a very interesting and spectacular event with its hideous secrets concerning the name of the child. The whole procedure is also followed by shots, food and drinks and dancing.
The Greek Easter, is the biggest and most sacred celebration of the Greeks. It lasts one whole week, starting from the Holly Week, that is Holly Monday, Holly, Tuesday etc.., where most of the people are attending the mass service and are fasting till Saturday midnight, when Christ’s Ressurrection is celebrated. A special supper is following the whole event. The Sunday of the Holly Easter is the peak of the whole procedure, with the lambs turned under the coals on the spit for hours and the people around them dancing, eating and drinking, exactly like the Greek Dionysian Dances of the antiquity. Easter Monday is the second day of Easter, too.
Then there are many religious festivities in the name of a Saint since in Greece,every name stands for a Saint’s name. During those festivities the churches carrying the name of the Saint are celebrating and there is a mass service and a big fiesta around the yard of the church.
Handcraft and embroideries of extreme value, hand made exclusively by women, local embroidered costumes made in elegance, simplicity and intense colors, most of them designed and decorated in an artistic way in order to project the family’s status and the territory.
Horse breeding,the horse as a symbol of honor and pride of the noble families in Mani but mainly used as a means of transport in the past. The horse for the nobles and the wealthy families and the donkey and the mules for the poor ones.
Home-bred animals, as a social necessity of nutrition for all the families and earning money from trading them in the ‘Big Pazari’ a kind of an outdoors market and local festival. During the ‘Pazari” thousand of goods are being traded, thousands of people are strolling around, purchasing, simply gazing, flirting and enjoying that Wonderland. A fairy tale for young and old especially in the past, for rich and poor, a meeting point for everybody. Nowadays the custom has been almost eliminated or has taken another more consuming form than in the past. In the area of Gythio, a big “Pazari” is held during the second fortnight of October in relation to the religious festivity of St. Demetrious on the 26th of October.
An old croping machine