Chios

Chios is an island in the Aegean sea in Greece. It is about 850km2 and it has many mountains. The highest is mount Pelineo (1297m). The island climate is mild and very healthy. According to a tradition, the island owes its name to Posidon's son who had the same name. At the same time another tradition says that it was named after Chiona, the daughet of the first king on the island.

Chios economy is basically aggricultural. Its main product, the Chian gum mastich, which is unique all over the world, has made Chios famous (for more information about it go to: users.compulink.gr/themkol/mastixaen.htm ). Other products are citruces (oranges, tangerines, lemons), vegetables, wine, oil and untill a few years ago tobbaco. Fishery is also very developed.

The Chian traditions and customs: (including other Greek traditions) The island has an immense variety of traditions and customs which are representative of the traditions of the whole country.Christmas: in Christmas the housewives make pastries such as "mamoulia" "kourkoubinia" or "finikia". New Years Eve: On this day boat miniatures (about 2-5 meters long each) which have been made by groups of boys are presented to the public with a celebration. This celebration takes place in Plastiras Square (or Vounaki Square) which is next to the pubic garden of the capital of Chios. Each group while presenting its creation sings the New Years carols and also says wishes for the New Year. New Years' Day: On this day one member of the family takes a pomegranate and brakes it while entering the house with his/ her right foot saying: "to varos mou malama" (which means: let my weight be gold). Epiphany: This day is very important. On this day, when the liturgy has ended, all the parishioners go to the ports (or the beaches where no ports exist) and a priest throws a cross in the sea (chanting and blessing the sea). Then some daring believers jump into the sea to catch the cross and to be blessed. During the morning and the afternoon, children go around their neighbourhoods and sing the Epiphany's carols: "here comes Epiphany, here comes baptism...". Palm Sunday: Untill a few tears ago children sang carols. The carried with them little dolls (called coutsakia) which obviously represented Lazarus. Another custom is making crosses or donkeys from palm leaves and distributing them in the church (the donkeys represent the donkey on which Crist sat on to enter Jerusalem). Easter: the night before Easter there's a rocket war in Vrantados. It's a really magnificent sight!

Chios during the ancienty: >From the very beginning if the archaic years, in the 7th BC century, Chios was of the first places which had a well organised political system (something which prooves that it was a very developed society) so it became a political pawer. The capital of the island was one of the first places in the Greek area that made use of coins. There were also many slaves and servants in the ancient Chios and the island had a numerous and dynamic navy. However, being the birthplace of Homer, the great ancient poet, it has always been a peaceful place.

For more information about Chios go to:

www.chiosnet.gr

www.chios.com

www.chianfed.org

www.chiosnet.gr/chios/city0.htm

Bibliography: "Papyros-Larous-Britannica", "Epoptiki"