Koukoumas on Simi

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 1 Comment
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My guide book ‘Symi’ by Kostas Farmakidis and Agapi Karakatsani (1975) says that Koukkoumas is held on May 2nd, and is celebrated in the forecourt of Ag Athanasios in Chorio. In the old days Koukkoumas (Klydonas) took place in all neighbourhoods ‘so that the nubile girls (korai as they are celled here) could see the man they would marry.’ [caption id="attachment_4213" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Traditional Symi costume and dance"]Traditional Symi costume and dance[/caption] It’s a complicated procedure and a rather pagan one if you ask me. On the eve of May 1st a girl whose parents are alive takes ‘silent’ water (collected from the wells without a word being spoken) from seven houses in a vessel called a ‘koukkoumari.’ In each of these seven houses the housewife must be called Rinaki (Irene). The girls later throw their rings into the koukkoumari, cover it with a red cloth, tie it with a red ribbon, place a key on top and put the koukkoumari on the roof for the stars to see it over night. Then, on May 2nd, after mass, the girls prepare food, yiaprakia, stuffed vine leaves, sweets, and a special pie with a lot of salt and some of the ‘silent’ water. They prepare this pie with their hands behind their backs (not sure how!). Later the food is placed on a large circular tray (sini) along with the koukkoumari. Basil and other herbs are put in and the girls sing the Koukkoumas song. This is the part of the ceremony you will see if you attend this evening. The song lasts quite a while, and then a girl whose parents are still living takes the rings, one by one, from the koukkoumari saying a random male name per ring at the same time. The ring goes back to its owner along with the name of the man/boy. The girls then dance and eat the salty pie and then, that night, they dream of being thirsty. And, in that dream, if the girl goes to the house of an unmarried man, in order to find water to quench her thirst, and that man has the same name as was called out with her ring, then ‘it is certain that she will take him as husband.’ Round, around on the plumed partidges Joyful and well-married in their time. Wake up, wake up Koukkoumas. The Koukkoumas passed from the street above With his white shirt and black breeches. Wake up, wake up Koukkoumas. Wake up, wake up Koukkoumas, don’t sleep deeply For much sleep weighs one down and spoils you. Wake up, wake up Koukkoumas. [Extract from the Koukkoumas song.] There is an older post about Koukkoumas here and that includes links to another photo gallery if you want to see more. The guide book ‘Symi’ from which some of the above is taken can be bought at the bookshops and at the museum on Symi Gallery from 2011 Koukoumas [gallery=136] Koukoumas 2009 [gallery=78]

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