Dave and Gerry's Alonissos Island Information Site

Corn Threshing Demonstration July 2009

The demonstration of corn threshing was supposed to take place on Sunday 12 July but due to the extremely high winds buffeting the island the event was cancelled and took place the following Thursday 16th July.  Posters were put up around Patitiri and the Old Village in advance of the events and you can see pictures of the posters below.  As with previous years the festivities started at 7pm and took place at the Alonia which are half way between the Old Village and the turn to Megalos Mourtias by the steps up to the church of Agios Yiannis.

The event was due to take place on Sunday but when we arrived in a howling gale all we saw was some tables upturned on the alonia, so we guessed that the event had been postponed at the last minute due to the weather.  We saw the new posters go up so we arrived on Thursday around 7pm.

When we arrived a table was being set up at the back of one of the alonia and a log fire was already burning over which was a large steaming pot of milk and salt being stirred by a group of ladies to make trahana (porridge).  The Dimos (Council) starting dispensing free cups of Tsipouro (without aniseed) and water with small star shaped almond paste sweets.  A while later Yiorgos from Taverna Panselinso arrived with the loukoumathes (honey-covered dough balls).  While everyone was availing themselves from the table the two local musicians set up and started to play traditional songs.

Straw had been put on the floor of the other alonia and before the demonstration started the sled was laid out on the side so everyone could see what it looked like.  The corn was separated from the chaff by a pony pulling a sled while men with forks were tossing the straw in the air.  While the treshing was continuing there was the opportunity of grind corn with a traditional hand grinding wheel and the corn was then added to the steamong pot of milk.

Some of the children were given rides on the sled under the watchful eye of the owner of the ponies to show how people would have been used as a weight on the sled.  Eventually the trahana was ready and plastic containers were available on the Dimos table if anyone wanted to try the porridge.

After the threshing demonstration had finished the senior school dance troupe performed a set of traditional dances dressed in traditional costume  This group are very good dancers and everyone applauded loudly at the end of each dance.  The group dance to pre-recorded music but as we were leaving to go up the hill to the Old Village the musicians started playing and we left the alonia with them dancing to live music.  As usual we had a good time and we ended a lovely evening with live Greek music at Mary's bar.


Tables Upturned on the Alonia

Table Being Prepared for Tsipouro and Sweets

Bringing Milk to the Boil to Make Trahanas

Two Musicians Entertaining the Crowd

Traditional Sled

Traditional Hand Grinding Wheels

Traditional Dancing at the Corn Circles

View of the Alonia from the Old Village
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