Competition in Kalamata
Each year, the
municipality of Kalamata organizes a spectacular kite-flying competition
attended by the entire local community and a throng of visitors. Kites
symbolize hope, freedom and a happy childhood, while the competition helps
promote a sense of solidarity and togetherness.
A local tradition in
Methoni involves the annual revival of an actual 14th century wedding, which
became a legend not only because of the many years that passed before the
couple could tie the knot but also the unprecedented festivities that followed.
From that time on, such grand and exuberant celebrations came to be described as
being "like Koutroulis' wedding".
Hanging of Old Lady Sykou
One of the customs of
Clean Monday that stands out in Messini is the hanging of old lady Sykou, which
dates to the 18th century and is based on true events.
According to tradition, an elderly lady - Sykou - was hanged on Clean Monday in 1825 on the orders of Ibrahim Pasha, after she had interpreted one of his dreams, telling him that his troops would be annihilated and he himself killed. Amateur actors from the village re-enact the incident and hang an effigy.
Locals also celebrate Clean Monday by flying hot air balloons, something one sees only in Messinia. Using the same multi-colored glossy paper used to make kites, Messinians make balloons. In the middle of each balloon they place a piece of cloth dipped in gasoline, which they set alight just before releasing the balloons free. Groups of children start chasing the balloons, trying to catch them.