New Year's Eve in Chios
The New Year's Model Ships
In New Year's Eve an old tradition is revived. Groups of children and teenagers, who have constructed a model war ship, gather at the town square and sing the New Year's traditional carols. The singing has taken the form of a competition during the modern era. The groups represent neighborhoods of the town, and compete in terms of their craftsmanship in creating the model ship but also in improvising lines for the carols. The traditional carols have been influenced by the Asia Minor carols.
The event is open to everybody to watch, and it takes place either in the open, at the town central square, or at Homerion Cultural Centre.
Easter at Chios
The rocketwar custom dates back to the years of the ottoman rule. It takes place in Vrontados in the Eve of Easter day (Good Saturday Night). A symbolic “battle” using hand made rockets, by local crews, takes place between the two largest parishes of Vrontados, Agios Markos and Panagia Erythiani.
In the recent years the large quantities of the rockets used create a magnificent spectacle in the spring sky. The custom has received attention from national and international media, therefore attracting a large number of visitors every year.
The municipality section of Homeropolis is taking all the necessary precautions in order for the event to be held smoothly, without any hazards. The visitor can enjoy a magnificent visual experience by watching the event from the area of Aipos mountain. Access to the mountain's snake road, which grants admittedly the best view of the event, can be achieved by car or on foot. It is advised to seek the maps that are printed every year instructing visitors on the easiest and fastest ways to get there.
Carnival at Chios
Carnival at Chios – Mostra – Agas
Chios Carnival is rich in local traditional evnts that date back to the medieval and ottoman years. Almost in every village you will find that a carnival event is taking place, usually on the last Sunday of the Carnival period.
Mostra at Thimiana
Mostra is the most well known carnival event in Chios. It takes place in Thimiana village, and it is said to date back to the medieval times.
It is said that during the Carnival time, while all the villagers were celebrating, the watchtower guards sent a signal that pirates were approaching the coast. The men of the village immediately went there and set up an ambush. The pirates were defeated and the villagers took their prisoners back to the village were they showed them off (Mostra comes from the Italian mostrare) and celebrated.
In commemoration of this battle and victory against the pirates, a representation of the battle takes place every year, even during the occupation.
At the same night they dance the “talimi” a kind of dance representing the warriors movements during the battle against the pirates. There are two groups of dancers representing the villagers and the pirates. They dance in pairs, holding high large swords. In the end they dance the Detos dance, holding each other by the arms. On Sunday the carnival parade takes place, followed by dancing.
The "Agas" event
The Agas event takes place at the Mastic Villages (Mastichochoria), that is at Olympoi and Mesta, but also in Pyrgi and Lithi on Ash Monday. It dates back to 1830 – 1840 and it is a parody of the way the Ottoman judges used to behave, punishing the Chiots with every opportunity they had. The celebration involves snacks and lots of souma, a spirit the locals make from figs, in remembrance of the obligation the locals had to offer hospitality to the Ottoman tax-collectors and officials.
As it takes place on Monday after the Carnival, a lot of carnivalesque elements have been incorporated. The Aga is played by a villager who enters the village with his escort. The court sessions start and the Aga imposes fines to everyone who happens to be dragged in his court. Humour and teasing each other is part of the procedure, as no one knows whether it will be their turn to answer to the Agas next.