Greece > “Kladaria” (the brushwood event)

“Kladaria” is the name of one of the customs which relate to the twelve-day-period from Christmas to Epiphany.

The necessary preparations, however, start as early as October. More specifically, on the next day of the religious feast of Aghios Dimitrios [Saint Dimitrios], i.e. on 27th of October, children and teenagers provide for the raw material of this event, they run into the fields and the mountain slopes in order to collect brushwood and dead herbs. They mainly look for cedar branches as they have a special scent. The brushwood is stored in a dry place and remains there until it loses its moisture and dries up.

On 23rd of December, the preparations start as early as midday. The brushwood is piled up in huge heaps in the open space where this rite is going to take place. The oldest inhabitant of the village lights the branches in the evening. Then, the locals form a dancing ring around the fire. In some regions, men with bells hanging off their body turn around the fire thus lending a character of an ancient Greek, Bacchic event to these ritual ceremonies which along with the scent of cedars create a very special atmosphere. In some regions of Voio, the branches light up during the Carnival period, or more specifically, on Cheese-Fare Sunday.