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The Festival of Lakotes

Traditional Custom of Isternia Village.




The annual festival of Panagia Lakotiani (festival of Lakotes) takes place on the Sunday after Easter.
The church and the festival venue is located in the entrance of the village, near the Pigadakia site, which is on the route from Chora to Pyrgos. The mass of the Lakotiani church takes place on Sunday morning, and then there is a feast with local delicacies and local musicians. The menu is consisted of the traditional egg and lemon soup, made of goat and lamb meat. The whole village is engaged in the process, along with the aid of the parish of Ag. Paraskevi (the patron saint of the village).

The celebration commences on the eve of the feast. On Saturday evening, the committee of the "Virgin Mary's Egg" circulates the village and asks of the local for ingredients for the meal, money, treats and drinks. Everyone is welcome to provide the committee, all givings are welcome. The goods of this atypical fund raising are then gathered and taken to the church. The priest performs the vesperal, and after the prayer is completed, the women of the village commence the preparations.
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Panagia Lakotianh Church
They clean up the church-yard, wash the traditional clay plates and glasses, wash and prepare the meat for the soup and put it to boil in large cauldrons.
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The Kitchen
On the day of the feast, people gther from Isternia and all over the island to pay their respect to the Virgin Mary of Lakotiani. The mass takes place early in the morning, and during that time, the women go back to the kitchen to finish the meals. The menu is mainly consisted of soup and meat, but there is aso bread, lettuce and tomato salads, local cheeses, cooked pork meats, and various other treats, depending on what is available during that season. The egg and lemon soup is prepared also. The women then set the long tables and hand out the traditional clay dishware.
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The Traditional Clay Dishware
When the mass is over, the villagers and friends head for the tables. The first dish to be served is soup. Then comes the meat, the salads and the various treats. It has been passed along the ages, as a tradition, to carve your initials and the date of the celebration, on the clay dishware, using a fork or a switchblade knife. People have fun trying to find their past dishware (or ones of beloved relatives) among the tables. You can even get lucky and find one of your own carvings near you!

After the meal is done, then comes the music. Local artists with violins and accordeons are ready to set the feast on fire!

During the time of the dance, one of the oldest and most beloved traditions takes place, the Rotharia. The villagers tie around their forks a small flower or a small candy, and a parchment of paper. They then offer it to a person who means a lot to them (usually girlfriends or parents), as a token of their affection. And you have to consider that this was a excellent way to show your admiration to someone long ago, by avoiding the gossip, when the relationships and society were much more conservative than it is today. This tradition is a remain of the Ancient Greek Celebration of Anthestiria.

The feast can last for hours, and when it is done, the villagers wish for health, in order to be able to attend the festival in the years to come.

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