Cyprus Folklore in Today's LifePresentation Transcript
Cyprus Folklore in Today’s Life
A presentation by the Cypriot students participating in the Comenius program in Brussels January 2009:
Antonis Anastasi, Andreas Demosthenous, Frixos Panayiotou, Savvas Lagou and Theodora Sergiou.
Architecture & Decorative Items
In Cyprus, especially up in mountain villages, one meets traditional architecture preserved to its original form, or restored and refurbished with the use of materials close to the ones that were used at the time. A lot of these houses are used in the lately-revived agrotourism.
Along with the building features, a number of traditional decorative items complete the picture that is a big attraction to visitors from abroad.
The traditional Cypriot House
It was built with white stone or with “plythari”, a mixture of wheat and mud. This was particularly important, according to the climatic conditions, since it kept the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
It is characterized by an inner yard, which was surrounded by the several rooms of the house.
The traditional Urn
Their construction was time-consuming and very difficult. Therefore, their production discontinued in the beginning of the 1970s.
They were large in size and for this reason they were usually made at site.
The materials used came from the surrounding areas of the village.
They depicted images by the environment, nature and daily life. Their complexity depended on the skill of the artist-maker.
Traditional Utensils & Gadgets
They were made with bronze and copper, a material that Cyprus is renowned for and has actually taken its name from this. Wood, silver and ceramic are also used.
They included kitchen utensils, such as forks, spoons and serving items, pestle and morter and other useful gadgets that today have found their place in modern kitchens, either for use of decoration.
Food Storage and Preparation
Urns were used for food storage in cool and dark places. They were effective in storing wine, nuts, wheat, legumes and salted meat preserved in fat.
Food was slow-cooked in natural clay ovens that were normally found in the house yards. Baking pies with all sorts of fresh ingredients (cheese, meat vegetables and fruit) as well as all kinds of bread and roast meat dishes was a regular activity, the result of which was and is still enjoyed by Cypriots.
Weaving on a traditional “arghalios” was one of the women´s regular activities, the products of which were either used within the family or sold for an income.
They made functional items, like woolen sweaters and socks for the cold winter days, as well as decorative items, like curtains, table linen and cloths, that were normally embroidered in traditional patterns.
Traditional Cyprus Cuisine
With a unique geographical position at the crossroads of Europe , Africa , and the Middle East, Cyprus culture and by extension the Cypriot cuisine has effects from the three continents. This is particularly enriched by these exotic dimensions that make it especially varied and delicious .
With emphasis on fresh local ingredients, regional herbs and spices, and the use of natural olive oil, the Cypriot palate is essentially Mediterranean in character.
Κοπιάστε! Καλή Όρεξη! Kopiaste! Kali Orexi!
The Cyprus Wedding
The traditional Cypriot wedding was a village or community affair that involved absolutely everybody in the area.
It started in the morning with the preparation of the bride and groom, to the sounds of traditional music. The two parties were then escorted on foot in a processional style by friends and relatives to church for the orthodox sacrament.
The party started shortly after the actual marriage ceremony and lasted for a whole three days and nights.
The Cyprus Customs
Big occasions are always accompanied by great feasts that almost always involve food, drinking and dancing.
Over Easter, traditional games are organised in village squares, as well as traditional singing (“tsiattista”) competitions.
Over Christmas, a number of customs are revived in households, like the burning of olive leaves to determine whether your loved one has feelings for you.
Cypriot men used to dance mostly during wedding festivities and at various occasions on holidays, but also in coffee-houses ( KAFENIA) in the evenings. From 1910 to the seventies, the basic dance of both men and women was the "kartchilamas" performed by a pair of dancers. The "kartchilamas" consists of a series of dances that vary slightly, according to the performers, or the locality. The parts are known as the "first", "second", "third", "fourth", and "fifth" or"balos", rounded off by other dances such as the "syrtos", "zeipekkikos", and "mandra". DANCING
The traditional Cypriot instruments are “ laouto ”, (a four-double-string instrument), the violin , the “ pithkiavli ” (a wind instrument made of bamboo that is the ancestor of flute), as well as the “ tamboutsia ” (a percussion instrument made of wood with a leather membrane). In the old time, the “ santouri ” (a string instrument) was also used.