Skyrian folk customs have survived over the centuries, and are a testament to the longevity of the island's traditions.
Various cultural and artistic events are held throughout the year, as well as many local festivals, culminating with the Skyrian carnival.
The celebrations of the Triodion preceding Lent are dominated by the custom of “Geros” (Old Man) and “Korella” (Yong Girl). The center stage is occupied by “Geros”, dressed in a thick black woolen cape, a face mask made of goat skin, and a wide belt of goat bells around his waist.
He is accompanied by “Korella” (a young man dressed in traditional female costume) and “Frangos” (the Frank, or European) who wears a mask and a big bell around his waist.
Small groups of dressed-up people go around the Village dancing and singing, and the whole ambience has a distinct Dionysian flavor. Even more so in the second part of the Skyrian carnival, the custom of the “Trata” - a recital of satirical verses.
The traditional customs of Skyros have been maintained throughout the centuries, and in defiance of our modern times revive the nostalgic memories and comfort of our childhood.
If you happen to be in Skyros on the eve of a wedding or a baptism, you will notice that the invitation is not given by means of a conventional card announcing the happy event; instead, the families of the bride and the groom, or the parents of the child to be baptized, pass by each house in the village and offer pancakes with honey on a plate wrapped in a clean cloth.
Tradition requires that the invitees return the plate unwashed. Early in the morning the women start preparing the pancakes – which must be fresh when presented. The dish offered at the main event is again pancakes with honey, rather than the usual sugared almonds.
These are only a few of the many Skyrian customs that, in many ways, remain very much alive in daily life.
A similar atmosphere prevails during the religious feasts held throughout the year, each time at another of the 365 churches on the island.
Source: Municipality of Skyros