International Folklore Festival of Lefkada
It’s a very old and strong cultural institution (since 1962), with the participation of folk dance groups from all over the world. The multi-cultural events begin with the big parade of “peace and friendship” and last for one week (the last week of August). Most of the events take place at the city of Lefkada, at the courtyard of the Primary School, but some dance shows can be organized, at other villages, as well.
A traditional lefkadian wedding is being represented every year, on the first ten-days of August, at Karya village. It’s a tradition that takes place continuously since 1979, as a revival of old customs, songs and dances about wedding, with the participation of locals and tourists, alike. The celebration lasts for three days, during which Karya is transformed to a lively multicolored scene.
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Lentil Festival at St. Donato
Rural fests in Greece have very deep roots in the agricultural life of the past years. People used to gather and celebrate the new crop, with songs, dances and free food for everybody and this remains quite unchanged up today! Lentils at Lefkada, sardines at Lesvos, eggplants at Arkadia, cherries at Edessa, mushrooms at Grevena, chestnuts at Paggeo and Pelion, honey at Thassos, snails at Crete, meat and cheese at the mountains, wine and tsipouro almost everywhere, all these complete the puzzle of a lively countryside, adorned by people’s fests.
The lentil festival takes place at the yard of St. Donato church, above the village of Englouvi, on an altitude of 900m. Each year, on the 7th of August (the feast of St. Donato) women from Englouvi cook their excellent lentils, famous for their taste and aroma, in big pots and treat the guests, along with bread, olives and salted sardines. The fest continues till late at night with folk songs and dances.
It is said that in the past years, the lentils were served at the churches’ roof tiles, to avoid the trouble of carrying plates! At the end of the fest, the tiles were set back at the churches’ roof!
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This is photo of a local woman dressed in the traditional costume. This is her everyday costume...
Here, she is spining the flax plant, from which later she will produce fine tablecloths, curtains, blankets and so.
She is one of the last of the kind. Soon, after a few years, those costumes and techniques will be history only...
Time for a break for the two old Lefkadian ladies. Would there be any better meeting point but by the springs and under the old plane tree?
* That photo was taken from the window of my parents bedroom ;-)