kos

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Local customs and traditions of Kos

The rapid growth of the island has left few opportunities to preserve the folk customs. Despite this fact, some of the local elders try to pass down these traditions and customs to the younger generation, transmitting the value and importance of culture. One custom that is kept alive takes place on 5th September each year. This is the custom of Klydon where women take wreaths, one old and one new- down to the seashore. The old wreath is hurled into the sea and the new one placed where it can be washed forty times by the waves. They then visit Hippocrates tree to gain strength and energy and take the wreath home where it hangs in the home to bring good luck for the coming year.

The custom of inviting friends and relatives to celebrate the slaughter of the family pig is still kept up in many places. After slaughtering the pig meat is divided up for the guests to take home and a feast of eating, drinking and general merriment is had by all. The feast of Agios Ioannis still takes place each year on 24th June. The main characteristic of this feast is the leaping over the flames of a fire, of the torch as the Greeks say. As well as this custom being carried out privately by families in their gardens it is also now celebrated in the main square of Kos Town where you can see people of all ages jumping over the fire. This is then followed by dancing and general festivity.

A great effort has been made to preserve the tradition of Kos ceramic pottery. The Archaeological Society has preserved and protected the only pottery workshop left. This is in Kardamena and people still produce vessels called Tsoukalaria which have not changed since ancient times. Finally, the island maintains the tradition of music and dance and, as in many Greek environments, every occasion will often lead to an impromptu party of local musicians, singing and dancing.