Customs of Sifnos

The traditional customs of Sifnos Greece, Cyclades: Although Sifnos has developed into a popular tourist destination over the last years, it has managed to keep its customs and traditions intact, in the form of religious festivals, memorial celebrations and folklores.

Klidonas is an important festival in Sifnos to honour Agios Ioannis. The festival is celebrated on the eve of the saint's name day, on the 28th of August. It involves a traditional fortune telling custom for the unmarried girls. The festivities continue with song and dance around fire. That is why the Eve of this feast is named Fire Night.

The custom Kyr-Vorias, meaning Mr. North Wind, is another important festival celebrated on the last Sunday of the carnival at the courtyard of the church, to thank God for the end of winter. Kyr-Vorias is characterised by the typical Sifnos dance by people in disguise.

The burning of Judas during Easter and Lolopanigiro or Crazy Feast are a few among the other customs still followed in Sifnos. The burning of Judas is actually the setting on fire of a marionette that represents Judas, the disciple that betrayed Jesus, as a sign of punishment to the betrayer.

The religious feast of Panagia Chrysopighi is the greatest on the island. During the feast, the icon is carried in a procession throughout the island and a litany is conducted at central places. As part of the feast, traditional food (chicken pie accompanied by meat and wine) is supplied. The locals make these events more meaningful by traditional dance and music. The traditional dances of Sifnos include Sifneikos, Ballos and Sirtos. The traditional music is accompanied by string instruments, either lyra or laouto.

Sifnos has also got unique wedding customs. It has got a prolonged ritual starting two days before the wedding ceremony. The ceremony is characterised by musical performance by two pairs of musical instruments along with dance, for two consecutive days and nights. Led by the guests, the bride dances, and at the end of the ceremony, the guests shower the couple with blessings recited in the form of poems. The pasteli, a local delicacy, is offered to all the guests after the ceremony has ended.

Most of Sifnos customs are associated with religion. Hence locals take special interest in preserving them. They all give to their island this unique vibe that keeps till today.

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