Naxos Klidonas Custom

The Klidonas Custom of Naxos: The Klidonas (or Cledonas) Custom of Naxos takes places every year, on May 30th and 31st. During the evening of 30th May, the single women of the village are required to fill up their pitchers with water from a nearby well and then pour the water in a big, earthen container that is placed in the village square.

The tradition demands that they remain silent all over the way from the well to the square until they pour the water in the container. The young men of the village will try to make them talk by teasing them on their way, but they must not talk. If they do, the whole procedure starts again.

After the women have poured the water in the container, the single men of the village put a fruit or vegetable in the container and scratch a mark on it for identification. After this, the container is covered tightly and left in the square for the rest of the night. It is believed that this bestows it with heavenly powers.

The very next day, on the evening of May 31st, a large fire is sparked in the village square and it is kept inflamed. The young men recite some verses to purify the container of its powers. Then men and women jump over the fire to ward off evil forces.

The container that was left earlier night is later uncovered and one by one every young woman takes out a fruit or vegetable and thus gets to recognize their future life partner. After this ritual, men tease women with some stanzas and women reply similarly. This is an old custom that dates from centuries ago. It takes place mostly in the mountainous villages of Naxos and also in other Cyclades islands.

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