The Tranos Choros

Easter customs in the village of Paleomonastiros Trikala, Thessaly
The Tranos Choros (the Great Dance)
On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, after the service in the church, in
the village square, or outside the church, women of all ages gather to start
the dance.
All the women of the village participated in the dance wearing the best
traditional costumes. The dance consisted of two parts. In the first were
the married women in order not of age but of the time in which they were
married. Unmarried girls followed in the second part. These are in order
of age. The oldest at first, then the youngest, the youngest, etc. everyone
knew the age and status of each girl. Also, fathers and sons gathered from
all the surrounding villages, sat on the slope, in the pine trees and looked
for the best girl to ask in marriage for their son.
Prominent is the oldest, while behind her follow women and girls in a
semicircular shape. All are dressed in local costumes and sing Easter
songs. Their content refers to physical life, religious sentiment and
various social events. They are meant to be cheerful and slow paced.
After each song, the dance stops for a while and the women resume the
next song.
The litany of the icons
The procession of icons is an important tradition in several regions of
Greece. This religious event is combined with important Orthodox
Christian holidays.
In the village of Palaiomonastero Trikala, in Thessaly (Central Greece)
this custom has been carried out without interruption over the centuries.

On the second day of Easter, at the church of Agios Dimitrios, after the
end of the Divine Liturgy, believers of all ages holding icons gather in the
church courtyard. Those holding the icons stand in a semicircle with the
priest in the center. There, the priest will bless the icons while the one
who will hold the church banner will be chosen through a process. Then
those holding the icons will start their march with the church banner and
the icon of the Resurrection of Christ at the top of the group. The faithful
descend from the temple and walk around the icons both in the main
streets of the village and in the countryside and in the meadows, singing
joyful tropes about the Resurrection of Christ. During this procession, the
villagers come out of their houses and stand by the road so that the icon
pass by. Also, many place small children on the pavement so that those
holding the icons and by extension the icons themselves pass over them
as a blessing.
This custom of circling the icons, through which both nature and
people are blessed, goes back to Greek antiquity.
During the ancient times, the Greeks had the habit of roaming the
fields with the xona of their gods. This practice survived during the
Roman Empire. Also, in the Byzantine Empire and with the prevalence of
Christianity, the ceremony took on another meaning and continued. But
from that period, the icons of the ancient gods have been replaced by
Christian icons.
The survival of this specific custom both in the village
Palaeomonastiro at Trikala and in other regions of Greece testifies to the
connection with the past and how primitive practices and customs survive
in today’s era of digital globalization.

National community center “Izgrev-1930”  Bulgaria

Manisa Valiligi  Turkey

MAKGED  Turkey