Naxos is an island with a great music and dance tradition.
Some great musical families of Greece who continue the island tradition of the Cyclades, such as the Konitopoulos, the Hatzopoulos and the Koukoularides, are of Naxian origin.
Families of musicians, singers, instrumentalists and lyricists, continuing the music and dance tradition of Naxos, exist today in the settlements of Kinidaro, Komiaki, and Koronos.
The traditional musical instruments of Naxos are the souvliari (flute), the nubaki (drum), the jambouna, the violin and the lute. The jambounes still play a leading role today in the company's feasts at home and at Halloween. As for the violin and the lute that arrived in Naxos from Asia Minor, you will have the opportunity to hear them at festivals played by skilled folk musicians.
The Dionysias are a series of events organized every year by the Cultural Organization of the Municipality of Naxos (PODN) and which culminate in the first weekend of September, with the wine festivals.
Dionysus was the most important god worshiped in Naxos during the ancient times, while in Naxos is placed the birth of Dionysus and the abduction of Ariadne who made her his wife.
The Naxos Festival has been taking place every year in Naxos since 2000. It is organized by the Municipality of Drymalia and the Cultural Organization "AEON", in collaboration with the Benaki museum.
In recent years, most of the Festival's events have been hosted at Pyrgos Bazaios, a restored 17th century monument.
The Naxos Festival, which starts in July and culminates at the end of August, includes thematic exhibitions, concerts, theater performances and cultural events.
VENICE MUSEUM EVENTS
In the Venetian Museum of Naxos, a building that was the 13th century Della Rocca-Barozzi tower, the "DOMUS FESTIVAL" is organized every year
In its place, various interesting cultural events are organized, such as concerts of classical and traditional music of Naxos, art exhibitions, etc.
, in Naxos, are reminiscent of ancient Dionysian events, a popular festival whose climax is the last weekend of Halloween, before on Clean Monday.
In the central square of many settlements, everyone feasts together while enjoying delicious food and wine, while everyone, even the visitors, participates in dancing and singing accompanied by traditional instruments.
In Aperathou, the Koudounatos come out wearing hooded capes and run through the streets of the village, shaking the bells they hold and with shouts and noises they drive away the evil.
On Clean Monday, the first day of Lent, in the villages of Livadi, they usually dress up in foustanellas or ribbons decorated with colored ribbons and flowers, and after forming small groups they dance and sing in the squares.
Halloween is celebrated in Chora with a torch relay and street performances.
The disguised groups, song and dance are survivals of ancient Dionysian festivals and rituals. In addition, Halloween coincides with the ancient festival of Anthesterii which was the spring Dionysus.
As in the whole of Greece, so in Naxos, on May Day everyone pours out into the neighboring countryside, eats, drinks and sings in the open air and gathers wild flowers to make the May Day wreath, the "May" that is hung on the front doors of the houses.
On the eve of St. John, on the evening of June 23, in the villages it is customary to light the bonfires of St. John. There they burn the Mayan wreaths, while young people and children jump over the fire, three times each to have good health and ward off evil.
The Klidonas, an ancient custom that ended up being a method of love divination, is being revived in many villages with a large participation of young people and culminates in a celebration with dances and songs in the village square.
GRAPE - RAKITZIA (CHAZANEMATA)
Naxos, in ancient times, was famous for the production of fine wine, after all, a variation of the myth wants Dionysus to be born in Naxos and to transmit the cultivation of the vine by planting the first vine himself.
Today, wine production is not so great, some local varieties are produced and vinified for self-consumption.
But in the past, the harvest on the island was a celebration and everyone, young and old, participated in the picking and pressing of the grapes.
With the remains of the crushed grapes, the tsambouras made raki.
Today, in Naxos, there are few rakitzia (raki distilleries) and the distillation usually takes place at the end of October.
Rakitzias develop into a small celebration, where acquaintances, friends, passers-by and visitors are all welcome to try the new raki accompanied by appetizers.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou