May 14: "Eleftheria" is celebrated in memory of the liberation of the city from the Bulgarians. They last the whole of May and include a multitude of events (parade, speeches, performances, exhibitions, dance events, etc.).
July 26: the "Pontiac Festival" is celebrated in Palagia, the eve of Saint Panteleimon.
"Waves of Culture", cultural events, are held annually throughout the summer.
The "Book Festival" takes place every two years on the beach of the city.
Early September: in Kirki, the "Festival of Milina" is revived, the traditional pie consisting of 3 sheets and baked on coals, in a pan with a special lid so that it can be turned upside down. Its filling is usually made of cheese and noodles (yufkades), but there is also milina with pelgouri and spinach.
December 4: Agia Varvara is celebrated and every house offers its neighbors and friends the colyvo juice, "Varvara", made from boiled wheat with raisins, walnuts, almonds...etc. The custom is a remnant of the ancient "panspermia" and is celebrated throughout the prefecture of Evros.
Custom of Babo
The "Day of Babos" (the old woman) or Mambotera, is celebrated on January 8, the feast of Saint Domniki and honors the face of the grandmother, the midwife in ancient times (and later midwife), who helped pregnant women with her experience on the day of birth. This is the best-known Thracian custom, which is celebrated in various parts of Evros, and was brought by the refugees from Northern and Eastern Thrace.
In the villages of Northern Evros (such as in N. Vyssa), on the morning of January 8, the women of the village who gave birth during the year visit "Bambo" and offer her symbolic gifts, such as a towel and shoes, to wipe herself and runs to houses to help. Babbo reciprocates with treats and wishes. The women then take Babbo by car to the village tap, where they ritually wash her hands. This is followed by women's fun with Babbo in a village cafe. The custom is reminiscent of ancient Greek holidays such as Thesmoforia and Aloes, rural holidays that refer to fertility and fruitfulness. The Aloe festivals in particular were held in early January and were attended only by women who drank wine and sang obscene songs in the presence of phallic figures.
On a slope at a height of 650 m above the sea, 32 km from Alexandroupoli, the Sarakatsani Association of Evros Prefecture has built a representation of a traditional Sarakatsani camp that is both a living museum and a recreation area.
The custom of Pentecost, the Gaidatzides, dates back to 1204, the date of the siege of the castle of Didymoteicho. The inhabitants then asked for God's help by circumambulating the image and God performed his miracle by flooding the river that runs through the city, the Erythropotamos, and thus they were saved. On the day of Pentecost, in commemoration of this event, there is a procession of the icons of Panagia Pentecost and Christ from the church in the Castle to Agios Athanasios. On the same day, the traditional yuvetsi is served in the square. On the eve of Pentecost, the Gaidatzides, musicians who play with tsambounes, Pontic bagpipes (tulumia), tambourines (dairedes), etc., parade through the streets.
The custom of the Bamusiarai is revived on the 2nd day of Christmas, in Rigio Didymoteicho and also in villages of Orestiada (Pythio, Petrades, Sofiko, Chimonio).
Two young men disguise themselves as a couple, one as a man, Babusiaros, and the other as Babusiaros's wife. The man wears a gourd on his head with holes for the eyes and mouth, sheepskin and bells around his neck and waist. In Petrades, the man holds a wooden sword to stab the pranksters with it. The pair roam accompanied by bagpipers, buglers and a dulcimer who play loud, wild music that stirs the crowd. The hosts serve them wine and give them nuts, bread, meat...etc. The Babusiaros woman kisses the householder's hand and they continue on their way dancing.
The powerful dance of the Babusiarai with their feet stamping on the earth as well as the frenetic music symbolize fruitfulness and vegetation.
Editor: Niki Kalopaidis