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Morals and customs

Lullabies

The mothers of Thira accompanied their children's sleep with ancient lullabies, many of which are used even today. Lines rich in emotion, spirit and motherly tenderness, such as the below traditional lullaby.
"Sleep star, sleep dawn, sleep new moon
your cradle was brought by a pearl
To set to sleep sugar, to awake honey
to give you water that angels drink"

 

Easter customs

Santorini tradition is closely connected to flavours and aromas. The smells in the air are characterising of the preparations before Easter, where women bake cheese pies, tsourekia, methista koulourakia, and melitinia, all of which are traditional recipes. The following saying  regarding the melitinia states, ‘’As the swallow  brings  the Spring, the melitinia bring Easter to The Santorinians’’ .
In Santorini the decoration of the epitaph begins early on Easter Friday by the women and young girls of every village, with flowers brought from their home gardens.
At the Pirgos area especially, every Easter Friday small cans are lit, along the journey of the epitaph and women spray with perfume the followers of the epitaph, creating a wonderful sight and religious atmosphere.

 

Local attire

All women in the Thira area are traditionally obliged to wear a headscarf tied nicely on the head, whether they are indoors or outdoors. A married woman did not have to wear it but was to wash her hair with vinegar and olive oil on any special occasion, to welcome her guests with shinny hair.
Up to the beginning of this century, women from around the world have given special attention to their appearance, especially on certain occasions. Special care was given according to class and age also. The Thirian woman also tried her best to look good, especially in the social events.
Many materials were used to make garments of clothing such as misoforia, frampalades, mpousta, corsets or head ties which women wore especially tied. In the suburbs cosmetics were not used, however women would wear earrings and occasionally a golden cross, whereas women of a higher class would select headwear to show status and beauty.

The men wore skoliani (a festive costume) which underneath had a woolen handmade vest to protect the body from the cold in the winter, and to absorb the sweat in the summer.

 

The foundations of a house

The day the workers begun the foundations of a house, the priest was called to bless, while the parents gave their blessing by dropping coins into the foundations . However, apart from the coins, crosses kept from the Sunday of Vaion were also placed at the foundations to protect the home. After the blessing the home owners would offer food and drink to the visitors; the woman a plate of sesame honey and the master of the home raki.
The Thirians are notorious for keeping tradition and religious customs, example of which are the over 300 churches and chapels on the island.

 

Weddings

When a couple approached the age to marry, they had various customs to encounter without having any close communication. The choice of a husband for the daughter was the mothers responsibility.

A young man, who fell in love with a girl, had to ask for her hand first ; either alone or with his parents. If the parents agreed to the wedding, they would discuss the subject of dowry. At those times considering there was plenty of land, it was equally distributed to each child on the verge of a wedding, regardless its sex. Both sides would sign a paper stating what they had agreed upon whilst eating,  and the preparations of the wedding would begin.
Weddings would normally take place on a Sunday, however from the Thursday all the girls of the village would gather to crack almonds for the wedding koufeta.
Early in the afternoon on the wedding day, the father of the groom would climb to the top of the house and shoot in the air to signal the beginning  of the wedding, Closeby violin players played for the guests, while a woman would knock every door in the village to invite everyone to the wedding. That woman was normally always the same unless she could not make it in which case she was replaced by another. She would say the following phrase to all the villagers ; ’ tire to come to the wedding’
This ceremonial calling is deeply rooted into the past and no wedding can take place unless all the village has been invited, to share the couples joy.
The violin players would play wedding songs all the way to the best man's home, later the grooms home and lastly to collect the bride.

The priest of the village would then take  the best man  and the families to the closest vine yard  to make the wreaths for the couples heads. The priest would bless the vines and sprinkle with sweet wine the branches. The wine was not to return to the bridal home, so the best man would throw the bottles wine to the ground to make sure is smashed.
Around a large table, set with a white tablecloth, the girls would sit to decorate the wedding wreath. The vine branches were wrapped in wool, ribbon and later with lemon blossoms and gold thread. As soon as the decoration of the wreath finished the violins would signal  the departure to the church.
Before the wedding ceremony the bride and groom would bow to the religious pictures and kiss the hand of their parents for the final blessing.
After the wedding ceremony, the guest would leave money on a disk for the priest as in those days they were not paid, to support them. Once the newlyweds left the church the violins would start playing again till the couple reached their home, and fireworks would be lit.
On the evening friends and family would gather to celebrate, and the celebration would normally last 2 to 3 days. The wreaths would be kept near religious pictures in the home of the couple , where they would stay until the couple grew old.

 

Birthdays

Celebrating birthdays as we do today with a cake and candles, was not the way the Santorinians used to do it. Birthdays are not celebrated  ( normally namedays), however on the first birthday of a child, various objects were presented on a sieve to the child and according to what he/she picked up first determined what the profession of the child would be later on in life. For instance if the child picked up a paper boat he would become a seaman, if he picked up a shoe he would become a cobbler.

 

Tomato Puree Concoction

The cultivation of the small Santorinian tomato begun at the beginning of the 20th Century and up until recently was regarded the most significant exports of the island.
The seeds were planted in February, in March the rarification would take place, and in May the vouloxoma. Vouloxoma is the burying of the tomatoes underground to protect them from the winds.
At mid June, once all the preparations  had been done, the Trigitos would begin, whereby the tomatoes were taken to a wooden  wash tub (kanava tou mpelte) which was separated into two parts, where they were deseeded and grated. They were later boiled and left for three days. Once the quality was checked, they tomato puree was put into barrels and exported.






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