Tradition of the burning holly tree
In Ioannina, on the day of the Nativity of Christ, children go home to wish a Happy New Year holding laurel and holly leaves. When he enters the house, they throw the holly leaves on the fireplace and as soon as they start to spark they wish, "Lambs, goats, brides and grooms!". This is considered the best wish for householders. This traditional custom refers to the shepherds who, when they went to worship the newborn Jesus, held a burning holly branch to light their way to the manger.

Custom of Jamala
The custom of Jamala (the camel in Arabic) comes from Thrace and refers to the lighting of the fire. In Ioannina, the custom has existed since the 19th century. and has been revived annually since the 80s until now. From Tyrini's Saturday, they make a circle (3-6 m diameter) with sand and fix a tall trunk in the center while they put branches and logs around it in order to light the fire. On the last Sunday of Shrovetide, large bonfires are lit and masked men and women dance around them. A great feast follows with dancing, food (bean salad, pies) and wine. The dance they prefer to dance is "how the devil's priests rub the pepper...". In the central square of Ioannina, the carnival events culminate and the merry-go-round (dance with ribbons) is set up. The merry-go-round is a pole, held by a dancer, from which 12 long ribbons (carousels) of different colors hang. Twelve dancers hold a ribbon and dance in pairs around the pole in such a way that the ribbons intertwine and create colored combinations. The dance ends when all the ribbons are wrapped around the pole.

Custom of Dolia
On the day of the Dormition of the Virgin, on August 15, the custom of the order (Doli or Dolia) is revived in Paleopyrgos Pogoniou. At noon, in the courtyard of the church, the meal takes place where the oldest (Doli Pasha) of those present will clink his glass with a guest. He will drink 3 times and each time he will dedicate a song to a different person. The rest of the guests, on the order of Doli Pasha, will dedicate their wishes with songs to whoever everyone wants. The purpose of the custom is harmony and peace between fellow villagers. In the evening, the festival takes place with traditional dances and a great feast until morning.

Traditional Wedding
The gatherings took place mainly on the days of the festivals. If the families agreed, parents and close friends would meet at the groom's house to agree on the size of the dowry. After the engagement, the groom's relatives would go to the bride's house to register the dowries. For the wedding, which usually took place on a Sunday, the invitation was verbal. On Thursday, the bride's friends went to see the dowries, spread the embroidery, the sheets on the bed, hung the dresses and arranged the fabrics in the traditional casela (storage box). On Friday, the in-laws would bring the dowry to the groom's house, make the bed and put things in order. On Saturday night they feasted with dances and songs at the bride's house. Each guest brought 1/4 mutton and a pan of bread. The butler (responsible for the food) cut the meat into portions and prepared the traditional yachni. Young children served the rice first and the meat (fourth course) last. They drank wine or ouzo.
On Sunday, at the time of the adornment, the bride held a silver tray where they dropped coins and sang "bless my mother now in my adornment". The bride wore a black Iannitian scarf on her head while her wedding dress was red with a blue lace apron (or blue with a red apron). The groom wore a blue suit and striped shirt. The groom would send the instruments to accompany the bride from her home to the church. The "Vlamis" (friend of the groom) wore the bride's gift, the bridal shoes. Leaving her home, the bride prostrated 3 times while her mother threw rice and kufeta to the sounds of the hymn "I'm leaving, hello my mother". The wedding took place in the early afternoon and then the couple passed by their new home while their entourage sang "come out madam and mother-in-law to receive the partridge". The mother-in-law throws rice and kufeta on the newlyweds and the couple dances in a double row with the women inside and the men outside. In the end, everyone gathers at the wedding feast. The traditional gifts for the newly married couple are copper plates, i.e. pans, pots, glassware, jugs...etc.

Editor: Niki Kalopaidis