The Carnival festivities of Skyros

The contrasts in Skyros are not considered as some tourist snapshots but they are a way of life. The Carnival festivities with their Dionysiac aura vibrate this island, which is steeped in incense and myrrh, with emotions of a different kind.

On Sundays of the Carnival festivities, the full swing of which takes place on Shrove Sunday, the Old Men and the People in rags (these people are dressed in rags) surge in the streets of the villages of the island of Skyros, reviving an old custom of Skyros which has a lot of fans all over Greece.

The suit of clothes of the "Old Man", worn by the young men of the island is very impressive. It's a black cape with a hood, a mask on the face and the person who wears them has around his waist 30 or 40 bells of sheep.

Walking with a dancing step, under the escort of the person in rags and that of the Frank, they make a noisy dreadful group, that fills the children with awe and awakes the sanctuaries of the hearts of the old ones.

According to a fable, the "Old Man" represents an old shepherd who lost, some Carnival, all the sheep of his flock due to the harsh winter.

He put on the bells of his dead animals and, along with his wife who was dressed in rags, walked on and on in order to announce this tragic event to his fellow-villagers.

Beyond the fable, the bells were known in ancient times, as the warriors hung them on their shields intimidating, in this way, the enemies.

This custom has, probably, this interpretation: it lays the spirit of evil.

(Skyros, a picture in the Aegean Sea. A publication of the Town Hall of Skyros with the editorial contribution of Mrs. Myrssini Mandilaras').