Dreams come alive in the Cyclades


The islands' hospitality is one of its greatest assets, especially when combined with local traditions.

Elements of Dionysian worship still survive in local customs, and are especially evident during Apokries or carnival. On "Meat Sunday" or Kreatini, the "koudounatoi" make their appearance-masked youths with belts made of bells strapped to their waists and chests who dance about creating a tremendous din while custom dictates that they are given eggs as a treat.

On Kathara Deftera, the first day of Lent, violin-playing youths known as "foustanellatoi" are part of local observance customs.

A number of customs and traditions are linked to rural practices such as the seasonal pig-slaying and curing.

On June 23, locals burn thorns. Other customs dictate walking down three lanes and passing by three churches or dictates how bread is kneaded or what dreams signify who a young man or a young woman will wed. There are also a number of local traditions linked to the grape harvest and making raki; these are known as "hatzanemata".

The Easter meal traditionally comprises lamb stuffed with herbs, innards, and cheese. Local songs and dances are performed throughout Greece and lyrics are similar to the rhyming verses of the Cretan mantinades. Naxiotes have an innate love of poetry and often improvise when singing, using verses to relate local events.

The island observes religious feasts with a paniyiri, a combination religious observance and folk feast, most notable on the feast of Zoodohos Piyi at Agrokoiliotiissa, Ayia Triada at Galanado, Ayios Yeoryios at Kinidaros, and Ayios Nikodimos