Fire Festival

It seems that every day there’s at least one festival on the island–both with ancient, pagan roots and Orthodox Christian significance. Two days ago was the fire festival, which is both ancient and Christian. After dark, villagers build a bonfire for people to jump over. There’s also music, poetry, and dancing. The heart of the festival revolves around young men and women finding their future husband or wife. In addition to the fire, there’s a bowl of water covered with red cloth. Inside the water, girls place various everyday objects. Over the course of the evening, objects are pulled out and the name of the girl is announced. Then the emcee reads a poem written by the girl; the poems were usually short, rhyming, slightly dirty, and funny. I sat next to an older woman who told me some of the other rituals surrounding this festival. She spoke in the local dialect, so I didn’t catch all of it, but they were all versions of how a girl will figure out who her husband should be. The Christian side of the festival celebrates St. John the Forerunner. The people of Molyvos all know each other and there’s a lot of laughter and teasing as kids jump over the bonfire and the poems are read.

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1 Response to Fire Festival

  1. Patti says:

    Amazing photo!

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