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Amorgos, the Captain’s Custom

EVENT INFO

Start Date: 25 February 2023
End Date: 25 February 2023
a man smiling and play violin

EVENT INFO

Start Date: 25 February 2023
End Date: 25 February 2023

Every year, on the last Sunday of Carnaval in Amorgos, the Captain’s custom is revived with great success and strong traditional character! Not only in one village but in two at the same time, in Aegiali and Tholaria.

On the morning of the last day of the so-called Tyrian week, when according to the religious fast the consumption of meat is not allowed while the consumption of dairy products is permitted, the young people of Aegiali gather in the square of Lagada, Loza, and start walking towards the church of Epanochoriani, where the priest or the eldest man of the village chooses the “Captain”. In the same way, the young people in Tholaria get together at the chapel of St. Dimitrios with their own Captain.

Then the “Captain” and his friends put on the local traditional costumes and start the procession. Throughout this custom, local musicians play traditional island songs, usually on lute and violin. The leader of the procession, the so-called “bairaktaris”, prepares the “bairaki, a wooden pole on top of which is nailed a piece of cod or octopus, a loaf of bread, and a small truckle of cheese, ” before leading the captain and his male friends to Lagada.

The cheese (tiri) symbolizes Tyrini (the last week of the Carnaval), the cod and the bread, the beginning of Lent. The “captain” mounts his decorated horse and they all set off with the musicians and the crowd singing along. Thus, they arrive at the “Portara”, the entrance to Lagada, where the free maidens of Aegiali await them also dressed in traditional costumes.

On the other hand, the other procession headed for Tholaria, arrives at noon at the entrance of the village in Seladi, where the unmarried girls wait for them as well and then follow them.

Everyone walks together in the alleys of the villages stopping outside houses and shops to enjoy Amorgian roasted raki and local wine.

Returning to Loza (those of Aegialis) and to the church of Sts. Anargyros (those of Tholarion), the “captain” dances the first dance with his friends. The would-be “women captains” wait until the dance is over so he can choose his sweetheart by throwing her a handkerchief, publicly declaring his love. This is followed by a traditional island feast, until the morning, rich in roasted raki, wine, local dishes, and appetizers, such as vegetable pies, fried fish, donuts, and xerotigana. The two villages are 15 minutes away by car, so you have time to jump from one to the other and enjoy both feasts!

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