Search Recently viewed: View all
Oia Village - The Traditions of Oia
Theran Art

Oia Village The Traditions - Vendema

Vendema or trygos is the word used in Santorini for the vintage, which was celebrated in Santorini and reminds of the ancient Dionysian feasts that celebrated life over death.

The vendema started on the first days of August, when the kanava was cleaned. The last days of August or the first days of September, the grape harvest began. The grapes were transferred to the kanava, where men would press them with their bare feet. At the same time, musicians with violins, lutes and bagpipes would play and the people danced in the courtyard dances whose steps imitated the pressing of the grapes.

The greatest celebration was the last day of the pressing, when they made a feast with food, drink, singing, dancing and exchanging of wishes. The barrels opened the 22nd of October, on the feast of St Averkios. They made on the barrel the sign of the cross with a sprig of basil and then, while singing the hymn of St Averkios, they tasted the new wine. This was followed by a feast, where everyone would eat, drink, sing and dance.

Vendema Trygos Vendema Trygos

Oia Village The Traditions - Marriages

Marriages were another occasion for celebration. Friends, relatives and the best-man, accompanied by musicians would go to the groom's house, from where they would all go to the bride's house. This was called graximo, during which, everyone was outside drinking and singing. Then, they would go to the church.

The wedding wreaths were made from vine branches that were sprinkled with sweet wine. From a bottle that should be broken by the best-man. The bride's girlfriends decorated the wreaths with ribbons, gold threads and flowers. The traditional sweetmeat was koufeto: roasted almonds and honey in a platter, a spoonful of which every guest would take. A small glass of Vinsanto would accompany it.

Marriages Marriages

Oia Village The Traditions - Easter

The greatest celebration in Greece, though, is the one of Easter. In Oia, all the Holy Week services take place in the church of Virgin Platsani in the square. Early in the morning of Good Friday, the women and the girls decorate the Epitaphios, a wooden representation of Jesus' bier, with flowers. At noon, in the church, it is the ceremony of the Deposition from the Cross, when the women sprinkle the body of Christ with rose petals while the bell tolls funereally.

The same evening, the procession of Epitaphios through the Oia village takes place, with the cross, Epitaphios and the priest on the front and the rest of the people following holding lighted candles. It heads to the church of St George, in front of which they sway the Epitaphios, representing the earthquake that followed Christ's death. Then, they keep on walking through the streets, while, from their doorways, women sprinkle the procession with rosewater. The children light fires in tin cans, which are left in several spots of Oia.

After the Resurrection of Easter Saturday, an effigy of Judas that is hanging in front of the church is put on fire. Then, Oians return home to eat after a 40-day fast. They crack red eggs and they eat the traditional meat with greens and meletini, a sweet tart filled with egg, soft white cheese and mastic, which is the main Easter sweetmeat of Santorini. On the morning of Easter Sunday, the congregation goes from the church of Virgin Platsani to the church of Anastasis, singing psalms, the priest and the altar boys on the lead, holding the icon of Risen Christ and gold banners.

Oia Easter Oia Easter Oia Easter