On December 23rd and 24th, the fires are lit in the neighborhoods of Florina. The residents collect the wood they will use months in advance and keep the place where they are stored a secret. Fire is associated with the ancient worship of the Sun god as well as with the Birth of the Savior. It refers to the shepherds who kept Jesus warm in the manger. Bonfire Night is a big outdoor celebration with dancing, singing and food. On December 24, children sing carols in the neighborhoods and receive nuts and christosoma ("kolacina") as a tip. On New Year's, bonfires are lit again as a reminder for the quick arrival of the New Year. Two young people disguise themselves as a bride and groom and go around the houses collecting edibles which they then offer to the church or to needy families.
Custom of Surva
On New Year's Eve, the custom of surva or stolva (a tip for carolers) is revived, which is a remnant of the gynocracy. Young men spin three times in the air with the stool the grandmother of each house, shouting "surva babbo and the year". On the day of the Epiphany, instead of the grandmother, they raise the children up saying "pillar babbo... and next year". In this way they wish the best for the New Year. The tip corresponds to money and/or fruit.
Custom of the Jamalaria
On the day of the Epiphany, after the sanctification of the waters in the lake, the custom of the Jamalarians is celebrated in Arnissa. A group of men disguise themselves as different faces (captain, weed, bride, dancer ... etc), tease each other and move around the neighborhoods dancing and drinking to the accompaniment of traditional instruments.
Ritual of Perperuna
This is an ancient custom for the rainwater that referred to Dark Jupiter and then to Christ. It is reviving mainly in cities and villages of Macedonia. A small child, boy or girl, is dressed as a "perperuna" (or pirpiruna) with weeds, greens or walnut leaves and drenched with water. Then they go around the village holding containers of water and sing "Perperuna is walking, God is begging for a rain, a soft rain...". The housewives wet the perperuna and wish for rain.
This is a custom known from antiquity related to panspermia, harvesting, good harvest. The kernos is an ancient clay circular vessel with slots where fruits and seeds from the first harvests were placed as an offering to the deity. After the ritual, the faithful consumed the offerings. Today, fruits are offered in similar ritual vessels as a plea to God for a good harvest.
The custom of Sirnitsi
From the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee to the Sunday of the Cheese Eater, the custom of Sirnici (sweet, in Persian) is celebrated. Housewives make sweets, mainly halva, and expect visitors without invitation or warning. Especially housewives who have daughters must take special care of the people who will come to visit. This is how consulships are prepared for young girls.
In the area of Lake Vegoritida, in the village of Agios Panteleimon, the custom is revived on July 27. On the eve of the feast of Saint Panteleimon, the villagers buy a calf (qurbani) and sacrifice it. The sacrificed animal is then boiled with vegetables and distributed to the world. It is an ancient Greek ritual that the inhabitants of the area maintain to this day in order to appease and honor the Divine power. The events include dance groups, sports competitions on the beach (beach volley, handball), swimming and fishing competitions...etc. In the central square of the village, the feast lasts until the morning hours of July 27.
Cultural events are organized in the first ten days of August, including theatrical performances, exhibitions, traditional dance and music groups, concerts...etc.
This is a ten-day organization of mainly musical events at the end of August, on the island of Agios Achillios in Prespes. This cultural institution, revived annually since 1989, symbolizes the brotherhood and coexistence of peoples through cultural creation. Events include concerts, poetry evenings, tributes and an open house party.
Editor: Niki Kalopaidis