Back in the summer of 2013 the people of Rokka and Kera, two foothill villages, held for the first time ever cultural and artist happenings at the archaeological site of Rokka. An ideal spot lying atop a circa 210 m hill, towering over the area. From up there, panoramic views of the Rokka gorge and the surrounding area all the way to Kissamos bay, are unobstructed and absolutely stunning. This unparalleled setting, aided by the people in the area, is the stage for high quality cultural events, something that rekindled tourism, motivated local youth to dabble in local matters and, at the same time, became a cradle of promoting and curating arts and culture.
Over time, it was established as quite the popular institution, attracting ever more people, associations and local authorities, who began participating as co-organisers, to end up getting more than 14,000 visitors annually, and not just Cretans but rather from all over Greece and abroad. It takes place every August during the full moon, which grants a touch of magic to the whole vibe. Part of these happenings is sight walking and, for those intrigued, climbing a 58 m high rock via a rather dangerous, at places, path and reaching the top, at 268 m above sea, to witness a unique view stretching from the Oropos peninsula to Gramvousa.
Additionally, concerts, art gallery exhibitions and stage plays take place, by both local and foreign artists. The higher goal and driving force behind all this is the wish of the organising locals to cast a spotlight on their birthplaces as a home of culture, stir up collaboration and push the youth into taking up the arts.
Lafonisios Dromos is a sports event held to honour the civilian Cretan population that was massacred by the Turks at Elafonissi on Easter Sunday in 1824, a retaliation against the Greek Revolution. It is divided in two sub-categories:
a) The 12,500 m. road running challenge: participants start at the Livadia village and finish on Elafonissi beach, and b) the 5,000 m. one that also involves power walking; it starts at the Holy Monastery of Chryssoskalitissa and finishes, too, on Elafonissi beach. Every man, woman, child and person with special needs can join in. Participants receive a commemorative t-shirt and a medal while those in the first three places are awarded a trophy.
Skalidis street has been the trade centre of Kissamos town for many years. Butchers’ and grocery stores aplenty attracted crowds of locals every Good Friday, who shopped for their Easter Sunday feast. As a follow-up to this legacy, the Municipality of Kissamos, the New Trade Association of Kissamos and the Municipal Social Enterprise co-organise each year the ‘Good Friday Bazaar’. As per its name it happens on the Friday of the Holy Week, from early in the morning till late in the evening, as merchants, craftsmen, farmers and herders of the area sell their produce at really low prices. Adding to this, cafés and snack bars along the street serve fasting savouries, based on traditional recipes from Kissamos.
Lafonisi Route of 2018 will take place in Elafonisi at Saturday 18th of August. Includes routes of 5 & 12,5 kilometers.
For more information you can call in municipality of Kissamos (00302822340200).
Among the efforts of rekindling the population with local customs and bringing out local culture, the reverend Archbishop of Kissamos – Selinos, Irineos Galanakis held in 1996 the re-enactment of a traditional wedding of Kissamos, the way it was done up until the 1950’s. This is a custom that repeats summer after summer, attracting crowds from all over Greece and abroad, organised by the ‘Gramvousa’ Promotion Club of Kissamos. A wedding, back in those days, would last three days, Saturday to Monday. Its present-day version though is just a one-day happening.
The bride’s dowry is carried to the groom’s house on adorned horses and the procession is followed by family members and friends of the couple accompanied by traditional Cretan singsong and instruments. Then, the procession goes back to the bride’s place and as the parents give her away to the groom, church bells toll to direct everyone towards it. Bride and groom are brought on horses or a carriage to the church. After the end of the ceremony the couple is offered honey with walnuts as a token of fertility and sweet common life and then, the feast is on!
First up, Rizites, the groomsmen sing their songs (Rizitika tis tavlas = songs of the mountains’ roots for the wedding table) and later, accompanied by lute and violin, they all dance together.
FOLKLORE CULTURE Folklore is a culture defined by its namesake: everything the people of a land say, do and act collectively and as a society. Folklore roots across the region of Kissamos are lost in the haze of time, back to Minoan Civilisation times. FOLK ART MUSIC Music and singing are strongly connected to all sides of everyday life for the inhabitants of the area. Traditional musical instruments of Kissamos are the lute and violin, instead of the lyre found in other regions. Locals have dubbed them ‘zygia’ and they are a vital part of days-long celebrations of joyous events like weddings, fairs, engagements, christenings and more. The dancing activities of the people of Kissamos is abundant too, who stomp…
THE KISSAMOS DIET Kissamos locals, as do all Cretans, are traditionally gourmand and enjoy good, quality food. Their land’s trademark produce is the cornerstone of Mediterranean Diet. Local cuisine is, at its foundation, indigenous and the rule of thumb is the use of olive oil on every dish, with tomato and oregano assuming starring roles. The dietary habits of today’s locals are close to those in ancient times, something that is documented by inscriptions on Linear B tablets regarding cheese, olive oil, honey, wine, herbs and spices, meats and grain. Its basic features are simplicity, sparsity, making use of local and seasonal produce, all cooked with imaginative variation. OLIVE OIL No matter where you land on Crete, be it high…