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18/11/2008
The custom of Saint Tryfonas and the "Kourmpani" of the Ascension Day

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The custom of Saint Tryfonas
Every first February in the feast of Saint Tryfonas (protector of the vines and the viticulturists), the Émigrés of Anatoliki Romylia were gathered in the morning in the church, they took holy water and then in teams, they went to the vineyards. There, after they sprinkled the vines with the holy water, they turned on fires; they were cooking, singing and dancing. They were, also, organising fight contests and the winner took a lamb or a rooster as an award.

The "Kourmpani" of the Ascension Day
The "kourmpani" * is a custom in which animals are sacrificed, mainly lambs, during the feast of the Ascension Day. According to the folklorist G. Aikaterinidi, it is the continuation of the ancient custom in which the ancient Greeks made sacrifices in order to pacify the gods and have favourable omens.

The organisation of the custom became always from a committee of women with the assistance of the men in collaboration with the church. The animals (sheeps), which were sacrificed, they were offered by "kechagiades" (cattle-breeders), something that they made with pleasure, because they considered it good for themselves and their families.

The animals were transported the previous day in the church in the morning. The priest blessed them, they were sacrificed and then they were received by the women, in order to prepare "kourmpani" the next day.

"Kourmpani" was prepared the day of the feast from the morning in the church. When the church finished, "kourmpani" was offered to all.

The women brought from their houses special covers, "kannavostroses", which were laid on the ground, as well as "misaoudes" (woven tablecloths). They also prepared and brought from the house "mpougatses" (special breads for the circumstance), which were shared to all.

Attended all they eat from the "koyrmpa'nj", because him they considered "good", for this reason they took also in the house for the persons that could not assist in the feast (sicks and old men).


* kurban = sacrifice in Arabic


Source:
Pan-Hellenic Federation of the Associations of Anatoliki Romylia, "Anatoliki Romylia (Northern Thrace)", Periodical publication P.O.S.A.R., vol. 2, April - May - June 2005