Civilisation, Folklore and Tradition
Although Karpathos is a small island it is exceptional because of its rich tradition which has roots from ancient years and especially because
of the local people's devotion to preserving their customs and traditions
and living according to these values.
This devotion is due to its geographical position (far away and isolated
from the greek Mainland) and to the genuine greek spirit of the Karpathian people. Many Greeks and foreigners have studied about Karpathos
and a great deal of folklore studies have been published in books, newspapers and magazines. Moreover, there is a great deal of material
that has not been published yet by researchers of tradition.
Of invaluable importance are for Karpathos the folklore studies
and works of Manolakakis, Michailidis Nouaros, Georgiou and Alexiadis.
A great deal of their work is preserved by Karpathians all over the world.
Remarkable is the devotion of Karpathian people - not only the ones
living in Karpathos, but all Karpathian who live abroad - to their traditions and customs.
Folk songs and rhymes composed and sang at the same time ("mantinades"), proverbs, riddles, tales, myths, games, wishes,
curses, oaths are part of the everyday life of people - younger and elder,
men and women - since ancient times.
A special place in the hearts of Karpathian people has the traditional karpathian festivity ("kathisto glenti").
The men sit around a table with the music players of the traditional instruments, drinking wine and composing and singing songs.
They are given the opportunity to express their feelings - joy or pain depending on the occasion. The "lyra", "laouto", "tsambouna"
and the "violi" are the traditional karpathian musical instruments
and are inseparable part of a karpathian festivity.
One can attend a karpathian "glenti" in Greek Orthodox celebrations
and in social events especially weddings, baptisms,
name days after eating the traditional karpathian dishes.
After singing in the karpathian "glenti" and having expressed
their feelings and thoughts and at the peak of cheerfulness
the people feel the need to dance the traditional karpathian dances.
Some of these dances are: "Siganos", "Gonatistos", "Pano Choros", "Sousta", "Foumistos"(only in weddings), "Zervos", "Kefallonitika", "Antipatitis","Arkistis".
The first five dances are the traditional dances which are more
commonly danced by people in Karpathos during their celebrations.
Many customs have their roots in Ancient times and are preserved
till nowadays unchanged and the people feel proud taking part
in this way of life.
Lets see some of those Customs and Traditions.