Culture

Limnos’ civilisation of many centuries can be easily spotted in the local architecture, the music, the dances, the arts and literature.

Characteristic architectural samples in the island, witnessing its cultural identity, are the one store or two store stone-built houses with the tiled roofs and the “agonaria” cornerstone, as well as the rich mansions with their magisterial entrances. Others were decorated with the art of stone sculpture which was very much used in the island and others with ornate rails and iron doors, which reserve elements of the ancient art of Efestus.  Samples of stone sculpture art are saved besides the houses, in fountains, wells, schools and churches.  Great elements also from the cultural heritage of Limnos are the “mandres”, the agricultural constructions which are spread all over the island.

The stonecutters, the blacksmiths, the boat carpenters, the barrel makers, the tailors are slowly extinguishing and with them some of the traditional professions which bloomed in the island. Today agriculture, fishery and cattle-breeding are the activities that occupy the local population, combining that way, the tradition of many centuries with the modern methods of production.

Characteristic figures of the island are the “kehagiades” (local cattle breeders) who are distinguished by their particular uniform. In the homonym Folklore Museum of Tsimandria they are organizing cultural events and festivals, resurrecting old traditions and dancing their own dances:  “Kehagiadiko”, “Patma” and “Mpalo”.

Limnos today, continues to maintain alive its cultural identity transmitting it to the younger generations. Cultural and athletic teams deploy various activities with the aim of continuing the cultural tradition. Traditional feasts, festivals and representations of old traditions resurrect in all the settlements of the island with the participation of the locals and visitors. The most famous are the following:

The horse races of Saint George (Agios Giorgos)

The tradition of horse races, whose roots are lost back in the depth of time, resurrects every year in Kalliopi on the day of Saint George (Agios Georgios). The young boys of the village start from the chapel of Saint George, a race with horses to win in the honour of the Saint.  This specific tradition was respected by the Turkish conquerors, during the years of Turkish occupation; they even participated in the races among the Greek participants. The winner is awarded with a garland and starts the dance in the festival, which takes place the same day at the central plaza of the village.

The “Aposortes”

At Boxing Day, there is a tradition in the island to slay pigs. From the belly of the pigs they cut a meat called “aposorti”. This meat is cooked the same night and the whole family eats it in a family dinner.

 

The “Mpatatsoudika”

On January 5th, on the eve of Epiphany in the village of Panagia, the women knead the leaven and when it rises they make the “marmites”, pan cakes which are cooked on a stone table. On the night of Epiphany the single men of the village go out to scare away the elves so the village can live in peace for the rest of the year. When the sun sets they start singing and dancing; till the early morning they have visited all the houses of the village. The next day the single girls prepare treats and food to offer to the men who scared away the elves. The chasing of the bad spirits ends in a big dancing feast with plenty of food and wine.

The thread of Varos

Around 1916, a big plague hit the village Varos and the people died one after the other.  A woman from the village show in her sleep, Saint Charalambos (Agios Charalambos) who told her to gather all the women of the village to spin in one only day, a triple thread and to surround with it, the whole village. The woman followed the advice of the Saint and the village was saved. Ever since, every year on the Lent, the women of the village  spin thread; on the name day of Saint Charalambos after the Mass a procession starts from the church with the priest at the head and they start the surrounding of the village with the thread.

Festivals, fairs, festivities and celebrations of the island

Museums and Archaeological sites