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Greek Carnival of Chios. Mostra, Aga and other customs

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We invite you to celebrate the most popular Greek Carnival and “Kathara Deftera” day (Ash Monday) on the island of Chios, from Friday 11th to Monday 14th of March 2016.

Unique customs across Chios are seasoning the feasts with lots of laughter, happiness and joy.

Mostra of Thymiana


Thymiana, a village 7 km south of Chios town (=chora), signals the beginning of the celebration with Mostra, a special custom dating back to an era when pirates dominated the Aegean Sea terrorizing the villagers. It was then that the inhabitants of Thymiana decided to stand against the invaders. A big fight took place and the result was a stunning victory of Thymiana, leading to the crucifixion of the pirates at the central square of the village, in order for everyone to admire their accomplishment. Traditional musical instruments (like payiavli and toubi) revive “Talimi” a traditional dance representing that fight. The Friday’s feast (uploading Mostra) ends with a big “paniyiri” at the school’s backyard, a building worth visiting while on Thymiana, right next to the famous central church of the village.

On the last Sunday of Mostra, the masquerades, wearing handmade masks, parade at the frenzy beat of Talimi and “Detos”, spreading fun to everyone. A “paniyiri” at Karouli square of Thymiana is marking the end of Mostra at Thymiana, with live music and lots of food and drink!

Diplos of Volissos

“Diplos” is a custom that revives every year in Volissos, the largest village on the Northwest Chios, in the area of Amani. The cultural club of Volissos is maintaining the custom, a cultural legacy for generations to come.

As it was used to, since the very old times, on the last Sunday of the Carnival, when the feasts reached their peak, human chains with woven hands started singing from all the village’s neighborhoods and they ended up in the central square creating a huge chain, where the first in line sang a verse and all the rest repeated together, dancing in the beat of the Volissian dance “Diplo”.

Then, in village’s square, even nowadays, a massive feast starts. A fast and furious festival, a great celebration in the village, with the people tasting souma (a drink made from figs) and eating roasted chickpeas and local sweets.

Agas at Mastiha villages

On Ash Monday (Kathara Deftera) the medieval villages in south Chios take in charge of the celebrations. A special custom “Agas” that dates back to the Ottomans occupation of the Greek territory steals the limelight of the carnival. Those times, Aga (the Turkish ruler of the village) was a strict and unfair judge who did not miss a chance to collect fines from the villagers at parody trials. Chians could not tolerate such behavior so they started to satirize those trials giving birth to the most hilarious custom you will ever experience.

Today, the cultural association of each village is responsible for keeping the customs alive. At Mesta, Olympoi, Lithi and Elata treats are offered to visitors and festival fans, while big feasts with live bands and of course lots of food, take place.

Four days of celebrations and fun, in the midst of the best season of Chios! Be part of this magnificent celebration, visit Chios and have the time of your life!

How to come:

By plane from Athens and Thessaloniki – see airtickets.gr, Aegean Air (in cooperation with Olympic Air) and Astra airlines -.

By boat from Piraeus, Samos, Lesvos, Limnos and Kavala (see openseas.gr, Blues Star ferries and Hellenic Sea Ways)

Where to stay:

No matter what kind of traveler you are, in Chios there is no shortage of choises. Plan your accommodation ahead and enjoy your stay. RealChios has point out the following for the Carnival period:

Aeriko Hotel, Karfas

From 45€ per night for a double room, 10% discount for three nights stay

Astrakia Traditional Rooms, Kampos

Astrakia (www.astrakia.gr | T. 22710 31609) is located in Kampos area of Chios amidst an 1.5 hectar bio-caltivated garden, where you will feel the warmness of aegean hospitality in a traditional and cozy atmosphere that can make your stay in Chios unforgetable.

Almiriki Hotel, Lithi

Almiriki is located in Lithi, a picturesque seaside village, 22 kms south of Chios town. Even if there are taverns and bars and other things to do in the area, Almiriki is a destination itselves. Spacious rooms, attention to detail, friendly staff and excellent location.

Rent a car:

Aegean Atsalis, Neoreion str, Chios

Quality cars, great variety to choose and after sales support is some of the reasons for making Aegean Atsalis (www.aegeanatsalis.gr – T. +30 22710 41227) one of the best choises for car rental in Chios.

Where to eat:

Rousiko, Agia Ermioni
Pafilida Estate, Karies
Pyrgos restaurant, Olympoi village

Where to drink:

OZ Cocktail bar, Stoa Fragkaki, Chios

Fascinating cocktails, theme nights and events, ingredients that makes OZ Cocktail Bar the place to be!

Plan B, Aegaiou Av, Chios
Botes, Thimiana, Chios
Aeriko Cafe-Bar, Karfas, Chios

What to buy:

Local products of course… Pikkles (all kind of vegetables in vinegar), Awarded candies “Dyo-Dyo” from Kokkinakis Sugar Art, “Pastelaries”, a dessert pie from dry figs with nuts, Ariousios wine, the wine used to call the nectar of Gods in the antiquity

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