is linked to lasting festivities, music and dance of Epirus.
Tradition in Tzoumerka,
Traditional feasts famously know as “Panigyria” are few of the most important social events in the area, they provide occasions for social gatherings.
In fact, Syrrako’s traditional feast is inscribed on part of UNESCO's representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, due to the maintenance of an old custom that survived to this day.
The festival program contains strands of music, dance and other happenings. Thus, during the traditional fiestas there’s a lot of dancing to the live folklore music, the guests are offered traditional food and local drinks (wine, tsipouro or tsikoudia) are aplenty. The traditional dance of the feast consists of two or more big concentric circles in which people of all ages are free to gather around. During the feast, women by tradition dance inside the circle, whereas men are holding each other’s hands outside the circle.
Finally, each of the dancers who partake to the dancing is ought to lead in the front row, following the rhythm of the song of his/her choice.
Once, local revelries lasted from noon until dusk, but these days the festivities are celebrated at the traditional coffee shops of every parish.
Preserving their traditions the region holds 4 celebrations set in each village’s square or next to a century-old plane tree including Profitis Ilia’s feast (July 20), Transfiguration of the Savior (Metamorfosi tou Sotira, on the 6th of August), Virgin Mary’s or “Dekapentavgoustos” (the 15th of August, which is one of the celebrated feasts lasting 2 days non-stop) and Saint Nickolas fair (December 6).
The feasts are generally co-organized by local communities and cultural hubs, as well as local dance groups, which they arrange all kind of ongoing events. Last but not least, the women of the community are traditionally responsible for cooking.
Music of Epirus
The indigenous music of Epirus contains four instruments clarinet (klarino), violin, lute and defi (tambourine), but also the flute and a list of percussion instruments, which are being played by the folk music choirs of the community. The system of patriarchy rooted also in the cultural ethos of the area, orders the men of Tzoumerka to ask and also pay for their favorable music perfomances.
Folk songs (the songs of Epirus)
The songs of Epirus based on a range of life events, concerning various social events, human emotions, complex principles of life, like marriage or being an expat, death and grief, stirring something deep inside ones soul. In fact, lament songs are leading all kind of traditional feasts as a tribute to those who are lost. The trait of these songs is slow and long sounds of normally strange, mournful melodies, sung customarily by local women, while the lyrics are replied by men.
Dance of Epirus
In general, dance of Epirus has a slow, heavy, long and imposing approach and its unique style pays homage to all aspects of human’s life, from love, and death, to warfare, labor, and faith.
The characteristic dances of Epirus are patitos, sirtos, tsamiko, sigkathistos and giannkwstas. All of them are referring to circle dancing, apart from sigkathistos, danced without any particular restraints.
The dance part is set-up in double or triple rows in an ever expanding circle. For the duration of the dance, women by tradition dance within the circle (with modest, simple moves and lowered gaze), whereas men are dancing arm in arm outside the circle (as an indication of supremacy and protection).
Every single one of them is ought to dance twice, and as a general rule one of those dances is tsamiko. The dancing sequence is valued by everyone and never dishonored. At last, the elder dancers are traditionally leading in front and the youngsters are following.