Customs & Festivities
Serifos is a place rich in traditions, legends and beliefs that mix history with myths to make fairy-tales.
Stories with pirates and corsairs that kidnap beautiful Maria, stories with fairies or the well-known “Kalikerades” that appear to be the punishers of those who dare to pass the torrent at “Kipoi” location. In the past, the everyday life of Serifos’ people was full of customs and the major holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Carnival were celebrated according to these traditions. However, many of these customs tend to fade away.
For example, there was a custom where during the Christmas holidays, all male leaders of the family would go to the island’s priest to express their wishes and give him a present. In this way they would “flirt” the Priest, as the custom was called, but in nowadays it has faded.
Carnival on the island has always been interesting, as it consisted in the revival of a custom called “Capetanaia”, a representation of a fight between klpeths (thieves) and armatoloe (bandits), headed by the Captain, and the Turks headed by Bairaktaris (the standard bearer of the Turkish fleet).
Another known custom on the island was the “Mantinades”. To entertain themselves, the young people in the villages would bring the instruments and started raving and afterwards they were going at the girls’ houses and would sing to them using improvised lyrics and “mantinades”. This customs is very similar to the Ionian serenades.
On November 14, the name day of Aghios Filippos, the island celebrates the “Hoirosfagia”, where the new wines are opened, the pigs that each family has breed for that purpose are slaughtered and a great feast follows, where food and local wine are abundant. This custom is also celebrated in other islands of the Cyclades cluster, such as Naxos and Tinos.
In Serifos, there are plenty occasions for celebration and dancing, as the fairs are very often around the year. As already mentioned, the locals are deeply religious, this is why there are so many churches, monasteries and chapels scattered around the island, even at the most isolated locations. The most noteworthy festivals that take place in Serifos are:
On January 18, the day Aghios Athanasios is celebrated in Pano Hora, on February 10, the name day of Aghios Haralampos in Aspronia, on March 14 at Evaggelistria in Kato Hora, on May 5, a fair for Aghia Eirini at Koutalas, on May 21, Aghios Konstatninos at Kastro. Moreover, on the Aghiou Pnevmatos day (revelation and descent of the Holy Spirit) celebrates the church of Aghia Triada at Mavra Voladia location. The Church of Panagia Liomantra (at Sklavogianni region) celebrates both on Aghiou Pnevmatos and on August 15 (the Assumption of Virgin Mary).
On July 1st, Agion Anargyron day at Kalavatsana. Prophet Elias at Vounia and at Xero Horio on July 20.
On July 26th, Aghia Paraskevi is celebrated both at Kato Hora and Kountoura village at Galani.
On August 6th, Pyrgos celebrates for Sotiras.
Panagia in Rammos and Skopous celebrates on August 15. But also Panagia at the village with the same name holds a festival on August 16. Panagia Miliani on August 24.
Festivities are organized for Aghios Ioannis Prodromos at Sklavogianni on August 29, for Agios Mammas at Vounis on September 2, while celebrations for Aghios Sostis at the beach named after him take place on September 7.
Panagia sto Vouno, at the site of old Avessalos on September 8, while Pano Stavros celebrates at old Mitata on September 14. On the name day of Aghia Thekla, on October 29, celebrations take place at Sklavogianni and on October 29 at Pano Dipotama on Aghia Anastasia’s name day. Finally, on November 8, the monastery of Taxiarhes celebrates near Galani village.