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The Medieval Village of Mesta
Ελληνικά
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D. CULTURAL EVENTS
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I. Popular art
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In Mesta the visitor has the chance to meet one of the very few popular sculptors, Sergis Patentas. In his workshop where he sculptures stone, his instinctive and effortless talent can be noticed as well as his admirable work. His work derives from two thematic units. That is:
a. History: The Trojan war, scenes from Odyssey, Aesop's fables, the Persian wars, the crowning of Phidias (the sculptor) by Pericles and Alexander the Great, are some of his works referring to ancient history. Themes from the period of Turkish Domination and modern Greek history such as the murder of Kapodistrias (the first Greek governor), Metaxas' dictatorship, the civil war, tortures Greek people suffered during junta, the Polytechnic uprising, the war in Cyprus as well as the accession of Greece in to the European Common Market moved the artist.
b. Religion: The six days of the creation of the world, Adam and Eve, their fall from paradise, Hell and Heaven, Cain and Abel.
In Mesta you can also admire Evy Avgoustidi's wearing art in the dome of Giourgaras. Through her art Evy contributes to conserving one of the oldest traditions of Mesta, since weaving was one of the women's major activities. Evy creates the traditional motives with great precision.
Another habitant of Mesta, Ilias Lykourinas, is painter of icons. His workshop is on the outside road of Mesta which leads to the harbour of Limenas, more precisely next to the tower. Ilias realized icons for several churches in Chios, however he creates also individual icons.
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II. Cultural pursuits
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In Mesta, not only in summer time are feasts and other kinds of activities organized, but all the year around the villagers attempt to maintain the traditions of their land. Their most interesting cultural pursuits are:

1. The "Agha"
On Ash Monday at the village square and in the presence of many people from all over Chios, one of the villagers disguises himself as an Agha (that is a Turkish judge during the period of Turkish domination) and judges the dwellers and visitors in a mocking way. The Agha surrounded by his escort (that is men who are dressed in an analogous way) arrives at the square in order to bring people to trial in great... magnificence. After the trials there is always a dance with traditional music, food and drinks of their own production (that is wine and souma).

2. "The Fire"
On Good Saturday in the morning, the young villagers carry woods at the square. When a tonne or so of woods has been gathered, a great fire is set on. As soon as the bell tolls at midnight and Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection, an effigy of Judas is burnt in the fire. This effigy of Judas has been hanging from a tree at the village square from earlier that day.

3. The great religious festival of August 15th
This day which is celebrated all over Greece since it is dedicated to honour St. Mary, could not pass without a celebration at Mesta, where people grasp every occasion for dancing. If someone wants to attend the feast he should book a table in advance; otherwise he will be hardly served that particular evening. The whole event is unforgettable for those who have seen it.

4. The fishermen's feast
It takes place on the August 17th in Limenas and it lasts for the whole day. The start of the fishing competition is made very early in the morning (at about 6 o'clock). The boats set out and return at 11 a.m. in order to give their fish for weighing. The scaling begins immediately with drinking and singing. Many fish are put in big cauldrons so as cacavia to be cooked. (Cacavia is a special kind of soup made of boiled fish). The fishing record is 140 kilos and we wish it would soon be broken. In the evening the established fishermen's dance takes place in a tavern of Limenas. There, after cacavia is served, the winners of the competition will be awarded a prize. The participation in the morning competition is the easiest and commonest way for one to book a table for the evening dance.

Apart from the official feasts though, the villagers never miss the opportunity of celebrating and dancing. The slightest reason is enough for them to have fun. Things are much more lively when an important event is celebrated, especially when it is a wedding. The visitor will be very lucky to see everything they are used to do in a wedding in terms of entertainment, since the traditional ritual has been retained.
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All text included in the topic "Mesta", © 1993, 1997 by A. Pashardis

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