ένα μη κερδοσκοπικό και μη εμπορικό πολιτιστικό ιστολόγιο - a non profit and a non commercialized cultural blog

Παρασκευή, 18 Μαΐου 2007

ΜΑΥ CUSTOMS OF CYPRUS

May is named after the Greek goddess Maia.On May1st, it is a very old Greek costom to hang a wreath of fresh flowers on ones door to celebrate the comming of May. The rings are usually
made of pomegranate vines or any other supple material. The stems of the flowers are cut to three inches or so and wired onto the garland. This custom dates back to ancient Greek tradition and it survives to this day in both Greece and Cyprus. The wild flowers which are gathered and woven into Mayday wreaths are kept until June 23, which is known as St. John's Eve and are burned into midsummer bonfires. In older times maybe two generations ago, another custom associated with oracles was practiced in Cyprus during May 1st.It was the oracle of "the unspoken water" where unmarried girls accompanied with traditional music would go out into the fields and sing and dance to the rhythms of the goatskin drum known as "tamboutsia". Then they would place the "magic" pot of May, fill it with water, and afterwards each girl would throw inside a gold ring along with a flower which was usually a rose. After all of them had finished, they would cover the pot with a red cloth and return back to their homes. The pot would stay for 3 days in the fields and no-one would touch it. After 3 days they would return back, and once again the celebration restarted by singing the song of May which goes as follows:

Τζαί'μπαίν' ο Μάς τζαί βκαίν ο Μάς
τζαίν μπαίν ο Πρωτογιούνις
τζαί ο Μάς με τα τραντάφυλλα
τζαί ο Γιούνις με τα μήλα
τζαί ο Άουστος με τα χλιά νερά
τζαί τα κρυά σταφύλια

This is the translation in English:


May comes and May goes
and here comes June.
May is with its roses
and June with its apples
and August with its tepid waters
and cold grapes

After that song would finish, the red cloth would be removed and each young woman would sing an individual song. Each ring was picked up one by one and given tothe owner with the end of each song. According to how the song finishes, it was believed that the "oracle of the ring" would become true for each individual young woman which was decided by the month of May itself. Today, this custom is completely forgotten but it's roots go deep into antiquity.

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