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Thematic Feasts in the Villages of Voio


Thematic Feasts in the Villages of Voio

The best opportunity for a visit to the mountain and an acquaintance with traditional villages is during their thematic feasts.

The most important cultural event in the area is the feast of 15th of August in Siatista. Large crowds gather from all over Western Macedonia to admire the Horsemen, who in the morning, with their horses adorned, revive the custom of traversing the old path from the Monastery of Mikrokastro, where there is a pilgrimage and a procession of the icon of Mother Mary. At noon they return and the parade begins. Every group passes separately accompanied by brass instruments, while the local authorities and the crowd are gathered to welcome them. A feast ensues, first in the town’s squares and then at homes, where they celebrate until the morning hours. The custom has deep roots in the period of Turkish occupation. Back then, the feast of Mother Mary gave the opportunity to the occupied Greeks to live a day of freedom and ride their horses, as this had apparently been conceded as an unwritten privilege by the Turks.

Furthermore, in Siatista and Galatini there is a local carnival on New Year’s Day called Mpoumpousaria, where locals in disguise dance in the alleys to welcome the new year and cast out evil. In Eratyra, the custom is celebrated with a parade of the disguised on the second day of the year.

In recent years, Kastanogiortes (chestnut feasts) have been organized in early November in Damaskinia and Pentalofo, with the famous sweet chestnuts of Voio. The entire mountain is dressed in its lovely, autumn colors, the crowds pour in, the chestnuts and the wine offer exquisite gastronomic delights while traditional dances are often performed. In Pentalofo and Vathy, the custom of Flight of the Baloons has been held for the past 200 years on Clean Monday accompanied by lenten dishes.

The trademark of Hrysavgi is the Feast of Batzios, Voio’s traditional cheese. The feast is impeccably organized in early August and includes dishes with batzios, recreations of the process of its production and traditional dances.

The Mountain Feast is an alternative happening of Polykastano, which is simple and authentic. For two days in early August, all inhabitants of the village ascend the plateau of Paliokrimini where they set up camps, trek, offer dishes with local meat and boiled goat, gather wild tea leaves and bathe in the crystal clear springs.

A series of other feasts that are also held include the Lentil Feast in August in Vronti, the Tsipouro Feast in late October in Morfi, the Wine Feast in early October in Agiasma, the Mushroom and Batzios Feast in early July in Zoni, the Dripping Feast in Moloha and the Pork Feast in Avgerinos, which takes place during the Cristmas period.




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