Let us look at the folkways of Platanistasa. Unfortunately, most of the folkways no longer exist.
Before Christmas, housewives start reparations for Christmas.
Preparations include cleaning the house, dusting, shining, arranging furniture, baking rusks, and painting the inner and outer walls white.
They used to mix paint with whitewash, so as to achieve the traditional with colour to the walls.
The village is decorated at the beginning of December. The village square is decorated with a pine tree whilst a big, wooden representation of Christ’s birth is placed outside the offices of the community council.
On Christmas Day, people go to church. After Divine Service, people receive communion, which is known in the Cypriot dialect as “paskazo”. After Mass is over, people exchange wishes.
After church people go home and gather around the table in a happy, family atmosphere to eat chicken and soup or “traxana” soup, which is a traditional dish.
On Hosanna Sunday, the people of Platanistasa used to go to the festival of Elia, namely to the olive festival, which took place at Agios Mamas’s church in Morphou. There, they could buy young pigs and raise them. In the period between Christmas and Epiphany Day people used to butcher the pigs they owned to make bacon, “lountza”, a kind of ham and sausages. They used the pig’s head to make slices of salted pork and its feet to produce “Zalatina”. They used to hang the sausages on the fireplace “tsiminia”, so that they would be slowly roasted. The rest of the meat was cooked and along with fat was kept in “koumnia” which are special containers made of clay. In this way, they had food for a long time.
New Year’s customs
On New Year’s Eve, housewives prepare the New Year’s pie and put a coin inside. The pie is eaten on New Year and who ever finds the coin is considered lucky all year round. The housewives used to set the table for Agios Vassilis before they went to church. They offered him a pie especially made for him, a plate full of wheat, a bottle of wine with a glass, a lit candle and the wallet of the landlord, for Agios Vassilis to bless.
On New Year’s Day, people go to church and when the Service is over, they kiss and exchange wishes.
According to old Cypriot customs when people return home from church on the first day of the year, they should enter with their right food so everything will go well during the New Year.
On New Year’s Day people used to play games with cards all night long at their houses or at coffee shops. This is not practiced today.
The community council organises a fest during the holidays (between Christmas Day and New Year’s). Santa Claus offers gifts to the children and everyone has a slice of pie.
On Epiphany Day’s Eve, namely on the 5th of January the village’s priest goes around the houses and sprinkles people with holy water. This custom is known as “Kalanta”. He is accompanied by a child who holds the container with the holy water. All people throw some coins in the container, as a gift to the priest and the child.
On Epiphany Day, housewives bring baskets filled with nuts at the church, in order for their crop to be blessed. After the Service, they take lit candles back home, so as to bless their home, as that light symbolises the Holy Spirit. At noon, they bake “kserotiana” which is a kind of doughnut. Then they throw some doughnuts on the houses’ roofs so bugbears, or else “kalikantzaroi”, would eat and leave.
In Greek “Sikoses” is the period between the Beginning of carnival on Sunday and the following Sunday that is Shrovetide Sunday. During this period, people used to masquerade and go round their relatives and friends’ houses. They celebrated by making joking and having feasts.
One of the most famous traditional games played at Easter is the game with the egg.They used to hang a boiled egg with a thread on the ceiling, above the table and everyone there were trying to catch it with their mouths.
They would also hang swings “sousa”, in their house. Souses was a traditional game during the Easter holidays. The girls would sit on the sousa and swing, while singing joyful tunes.
On Green Monday, people used to go out in the fields and ate mostly vegetables and no meat. This custom is known as “cutting the nose of Sarakosti”. During this period, people did not stop dealing with their everyday activities.
Several Days before Easter Sunday housewives clean their houses. They bake rusks and “flaounes”, a traditional Cypriot kind of cheese-bread. On Maundy Thursday, they dye eggs red so they can “chink” them on Easter Sunday. They dye the eggs with a plant called “lizari”, a kind of root that produces a red substance when boiled in water.
Saturday before Passion Week: On this day, two groups of children used to go around houses and chant a song named the “Lazaros”. Housewives gave them money and eggs, so that they could dye them.
Hosanna Sunday: During this day housewives take boughs from olive trees to church to be kept them there until Whit Sunday. The boughs are hallowed and then taken back to people’s houses so that the family is protected by envy and evil.
On Maundy Thursday, the iconostasis is covered with a black cloth as a sigh of mourning. In the evening, a model of the holly cross is placed in church along with a model of Saint John and Virgin Mary on the right and left side of the cross.
Everyone goes to church in order to worship the holly cross and listen to the twelve gospels about the Passion Week as well as Christ’s crucifixion and death.
On Good Friday, in the morning the Sepulchral is decorated with flowers. Young men and women chant the Dirge whilst girls bearing pomades sprinkle pomade, and throw flowers at the Sepulchral. At night, the Sepulchral’s procession takes place around the village and all women throw rosewater at the Sepulchral.
On Holy Saturday during the morning Mass and when the priest says, “Christ has risen” people make noise with their stools and the black cloth fall off the iconostasis.
Around eleven o’clock in the evening the church bell calls all people to church, to celebrate the most important and joyful Service.
At the church’s parvis, people light a fire known as “Lambratzia”, a kind of bonfire. At twelve o’clock the priest announces, “Christ has risen” and starts with the vicars the litany procession. People light their candles from the Resurrection’s holy light held by the priest. Outside the church people will listen to the Gospels and chant.
After church people go home, “chink” eggs, and wish each other. They note that Christ has risen, by announcing “Christ has risen” and “he has indeed risen”, accordingly. They also eat a soup with chicken and lemon, known as “augolemoni”, or “traxanas” soup and “flaounes”.
On Easter Sunday, at ten o’ clock in the morning the Service of love takes place. After the litany, the icon is worshiped. Then, everyone stands next to each other and exchange wishes. No one leaves; they move along the end of the line so that they will all exchange wishes. Thence, a big line of people is created in the parvis.
Then everyone goes home and they roast lamb and enjoy themselves. In the afternoon, the local council organises events at the village’s square and people play traditional games; for instance, egg-rides, bag-rides, donkey rides and many more traditional games.
On the 13th and 14th of September, there is a great big festival at the church of Saturos of Agiasmati. The Mass is directed by the eparch of Morphou.
CYPRIOT TRADITIONAL WEDDING
Matchmaking took place through a matchmaker or a ember of the family, who talked to the parents of the bride and tried to convince them. They always considered whether the young man came from a good family, if he had some money and if he was hard working. When he came from another village, then it was the parents’ duty to visit that village and ask people there if he was good or not. Most of the times, the bride’s to be opinion was not considered.
At logiasma, only close relatives were invited, such as godparents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, siblings and the priest, who would conduct a prenuptial agreement. This agreement was regarded legal and this is where the dowry was agreed. After this procedure, followed a feast.
Not everyone was invited to the engagement party. The couple exchanged rings and handkerchiefs. The father of the bride was responsible to provide the house, in which the couple was supposed to live. This was quite hard, because they needed to collect the stones for the construction themselves. Everyone in the village helped to build the houses.
Preparations for the wedding
The invitation for the wedding took place forty days before the wedding day. The in-laws took on the invitation by offering “glistarkes”, a kind of traditional bread.
On Saturday the sawing of the couple’s mattress took place. This festive custom included music played by a violin and a lute. People would eat, sing and dance. The mattress was filled with pure wool and young women would sew it together, while all friends and family would sing appropriate songs accompanied by music. All family they placed money on the bed, a custom known as “ploumisma”.
After that, the best men and the maids of honour would lift the mattress and dance while holding it in their hands. They also placed babies on the mattress; in fact, they rolled baby boys if the couple wanted to have a boy first or a girl if the couple wanted to have a girl.
At some cases, the sewing of the mattress would take place right after the wedding ceremony.
On Sunday morning, all women would bring chickens, pasta, flour and potatoes at the bride’s house and helped to prepare the food for the wedding reception.
Preparation of the bride
On Sunday afternoon, just before the couple went to church, the bride got ready for the wedding with the help of her family and friends, her maids of honour (“koumeres”) at her place and accompanied by music (violin and lute). Her parents would give their blessing by crossing a red cloth around her waist.
Preparation of the groom
The groom prepared for the wedding at his house, just like the bride. The barber gave him a shave whilst music was playing and his best man helped him get dressed, namely put his short and jacket on. The best man always sang along with relatives and friends.
After the wedding ceremony, all neighbours were on the streets so as to welcome the newlyweds in their new home, by throwing flowers and offering them rosewater. The wedding reception took place at the couple’s home, and all their family and friends had a wonderful time.
Monday after the wedding
On Monday morning, the best man and the maid of honour invited everyone with rosewater to the Monday reception.
After dinner, the couple would dance.
During this wedding dance everyone gave money to the couple in a rather extraordinary manner. They pinned money and clothing on the couple’s clothes while they were dancing. This custom is known as “ploumisma”.
Tuesday after the wedding
On Tuesday after the wedding, namely two days after the wedding, all best men and maids of honour would go around the village and collect chickens from everyone, so as to cook them and eat them.
Second Wedding or “Antigamos”
On Sunday after the wedding, the newlyweds brought big candles to the church and they lit them. They would then stand by the entrance and invite everyone to their party.
All the guest offered the couple nuts. To be more precise, the couple would sit on their bed and everyone would throw these nuts at them.
This party did not usually end until late at night.