Kastellorizo Culture and Customs

The Kastellorizian culture is a rich one. In the early days it was famous for the traditions of its inhabitants. Beautiful, rich and magnificent was the women’s dress, of at least three different types. It was made with brilliantly coloured fabric, and several necklaces, brooches, pendants, earrings with ancient Venetian or Byzantines gold coins completed the dress.

The observance to customs continues today with many weddings, christenings  and funerals. These reflect our character and origins regardless of where we reside. We will continue to cherish the that make us unique; the traditional wedding songs, Greek Easter – it’s significance and other treasures that are passed down through the generations.

Our food is an important part of who we are. Greek food is well-known in Australian culture however Kazzie food can be differ and include dishes that are not normally part of the Greek cuisine. Kazzie sweets, can be unique. Katoumaria is a ‘labour of love’ and, although time-consuming in preparation, remains a favourite today.

In addition to Greek customs there are many unique Kastellorizian customs and traditions we would like to embrace and preserve in this section.

Name Days, not birthdays, are celebrated in Greece. Great significance is attached to the name given a child, and the process of choosing a name follows fairly rigid conventions. The idea of a baby being given a name just because the parents like the sound of it is unknown in Greece. Even naming a child after someone as a mark of respect or admiration is unusual.

Children are never named after parents, but the eldest son in a family is often called after his paternal grandfather and the oldest daughter after her paternal grandmother. Names are usually of religious origin. Each island or area in Greece has a patron saint, and people living in that area often name a child after its patron saint.

Each saint has a special feast day. A person’s name day is the feast day of the saint after which they were named. On someone’s name day, open house is held and a feast is laid on for the friends and neighbours who call. They will give a small gift to the person whose names day it is, but there is less emphasis on the giving of presents than there is in birthday celebrations.

Greek name days include not just religious names but also names which go back to the beginning of Greek culture. These names would include those of mythical heroes and the famous Greek philosophers such as Odyessus, Alexander, Socrates, Plato and Helen.

In this section:
Megiste - A History
The Origins of the Kastellorizian Costume
Greek Orthodox Calendar
The Significance of Greek Easter
Proverbs and Sayings
Names and Name Days

Feature article
Kazzie Traditions by Beryl Georgakopoulos (nee Nitties) : What is Housafi? (right click to download)

Further Links:
Traditional Greek wedding songs
This information has been provided by the AFK website under approval of The Castellorizan Ladies’ Auxiliary of NSW.

A Kastellorizian Wedding: Apo Ta Votania
This is a YouTube hosted video of a traditional Kastellorizian Wedding with music.