Dave and Gerry's Alonissos Island Information Site
 

Panagia on Alonissos - 15th August 2003

The Panagia celebration was held in the Old Town on the evening of August 15th and started around 7pm with a re-enactment of a traditional Alonissos wedding with all the wedding party dressed in traditional Alonissos costumes.  The wedding entourage processed up to the plateia, preceded by a band of three musicians playing traditional music.  At the plateia they were presented to the assembled throng on the balcony above the Aerides Bar.  The two brides attendants passed among the crowd handing out Greek kourambiethes while the two bridegroom's attendants followed behind with soft drinks.  When the food and drink had been distributed the entourage set off with the musicians leading down the steps past the Taverna Fantasia.  The entourage later re-appeared at the top of the Old Town where they walked down the thoroughfare and stopped by the war memorial.  The band played and the entourage sang traditional songs and then they processed down the steps towards the plateia and down to the area by the bus stop.

What followed was an evening of music, dancing, drinking and eating which started about 9pm.  The land around the bus stop was cordoned off during the day to allow men to clear the area and set up temporary seating which consisted of wooden planks supported on concrete blocks.  Tables were set up opposite Taverna Panselinos where drinks could be bought, although alongside were two large barrels with free white wine.  Many people in the know brought their own cups but the craic was to buy one of the special triangular shaped ceramic mugs for 4 Euro.

The musicians that had preceded the wedding procession had set up to the side of the bus stop area and had acquired a singer in the process.  In no time the musicians started to play and half the island seemed to be dancing in front of them.  We left at 12.30am because we were leaving on the early morning hydrofoil to Agios Konstantinos and the music and dancing was still going strong.  Sources close to the wine barrels told us later that the celebrations had died down around 2am when the bus stopped running.

Food consisted of meat and spaghetti dished up into ceramic bowls from a huge metal vat set atop a table next to the drinks.  We soon worked out that the massive scrum around the table in front of Taverna Panselinos was where the tickets for the food could be bought.  For 9 Euro per person we bought a carrier bag containing a lovely ceramic bowl, some bread, a serviette, a fork and most importantly the food ticket.  Over at the food table we handed over the ticket and stuck out our bowls like Oliver in front of the Beadle.  We were dished up more spaghetti and meat than one mortal could reasonably manage.  The temporary seating provided a most appropriate setting for eating and drinking while the musicians played and the crowd danced.  The local dogs did well that evening and so did our cat Sammy.

For most of the evening we stood and chatted, made new friends, met old friends and drank from the never ending supply of wine from the barrels.  It's occasions like Panagia that make you realise how easy it is to be beguiled by the island and the people of Alonissos.

 

Balcony Above the Aerides Bar
 

Brides Attendants
 

Bridegroom's Attendants
 

Musicians Leading the Wedding Entourage
 

Wedding Entourage by the War Memorial
 

Wedding Entourage Walking Down the Steps Towards the Plateia
 

Temporary Seating
 

Wedding Entourage Leading the Dancing
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