Culture & Tradition

Karpathos has its own pace and course, despite of it’s location between the proud Crete and cosmopolitan Rhodes. Karpathos is one of the few Greek islands that has a very large and rich folklore and still preserves a great devotion to the traditions and manners and customs. Outside the main touristic centers like Pigadia, Arkasa and Ammoopi, time seems to have stopped and locals maintain alll the traditions of their ancestors, more than any other Greek island. Karpathians have managed to preserve their spirit despite their island being occupied and kept it unaffected from modern manners and globalization. Tradition is part of everyday life here, from the way people (especially women) dress to the interior decoration of the karpathian home. Furthermore, an array of hundred and even thousands of years old customs have survived and are evident at any time like local cuisine, the local idiom and continuing on to the ancient karpathian tradition of the three-day wedding and feasts, the traditional karpathian dances, musical instruments and local songs.

The Karpathian Wedding

It is one of the richest cultural events of Karpathos. It can take two or three days following a strict ritual. There is the so-called “wedding call”, where relatives of the bride go out on the street with traditional instruments and music to invite people in marriage. The groom moves to the home of bride on the wedding night. All processes start with the decorating the homes of the bride and groom, particularly areas which will be “exhibited”. On the wedding day and just before the religious ceremony, a seated party with plenty of wine and traditional music at each of the bride and grooms homes. Finally one of the old traditions which tends to disappear is the “antigamos” and the second day of the wedding, where local musicians accompany the festivities.

The Village of Olymbos

Olymbos is considered to be a living meseum with ancient customs, langauge and arts. A real journey into the past, as if time stopped druing the Byzantine era. As you walk though the village, you will see women dressed in their everyday traditional costumes, the kavai (dress) and poukamisa (head wrap). To your suprise you will hear them speaking to each other in a surviving ancient Dorian dialect with many ancient and medieval words.

Each family mills their own flour in the old windmill and the women bake homade bread in their own outdoor stoves. Each family is self-sufficient even as far as religion is concerned, since most families have their own church. The houses are decorated in the traditional way of which the doors are similar to Homer’s descriptions.