Living heritage is playing important part of Greek life, almost during the whole year’s circle and humans life periods, especially in small non-urban livestock societies, where there are various traditions related to nature, animals and human’s life.
These traditions keep alive the cultural heritage of the communities and usually local cultural associations contribute to this. The period of the Greek Orthodox Easter, the spring and all the summer festivities, are mainly the periods with the majority of the live traditions, customs and events, with separate “acts” in each Greek areas depending on the cultural origins of the inhabitants (Thracians, Macedonians, Epirots, Pontians, Islanders, etc.), the nature and the landscape (mainland, mountainous areas, islands, cities, etc.).
Almost all the traditions and events take place outdoors with the participation of the whole community, the people who have their origin there but used to live far away (in other countries sometimes) and with a lot of viewers and visitors.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by the authorities and government to protect health and reduce the spread of the virus, and with the ban on gatherings, social distancing, traffic bans, etc., all these local heritage and traditions were canceled and it will not be easy for them to return in the near future. But on the other hand culture continues to exist and traditions continue to be a part of people’s lives, communities and cultural organizations.
As CIOFF® Greece, for the last 2 years we have been publishing an electronic newsletter which includes all the cultural events of our Members in many cities in Greece as well as the news from the international festivals.
The newsletter is published every 2 months. During the months of March and April, all the cultural events of our Members and our Organization were canceled in their entirety throughout Greece and therefore there was no relevant material for publication. The editorial team decided to host in the newsletter, the local traditions of Easter and spring with articles from the local associations - members, with descriptions of local customs and traditions, photographs, and folklore - cultural elements.
In this newsletter’s edition, a total of 15 Greek traditions were posted for Easter, the period after Easter and the beginning of spring, from an equal number of regions throughout Greece (Corfu, Megara, Thrace, Macedonia, etc.).
Also, in collaboration with the Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage of the Greek Ministry of Culture, a press release was posted with 2 ICH Greek Elements, for which the Greek Ministry of Culture requested for their inscription in UNESCO’s ICH Representative List of Humanity.
In addition, at the beginning of this period of social distancing, a lot of texts were published almost daily on CIOFF® Greece Facebook fan-page, for some ICH Elements that are inscribed in Greek National Inventory of ICH with photos and details.
On April 29, we celebrated International Dance Day, with a video showcasing 52 dancers from 12 cities in Greece, who danced together from their home. In this difficult period, social media plays a key role in bringing to people the living heritage that have been canceled, and through them more and more people, mostly young people who are using social media platforms, can see these live traditions on their mobile phones and computers. Taking this into account, we can see the contribution of social media in this way to for the promotion and transmission of cultural heritage.
Of course, all the operators, participants and spectators of the traditions wish to meet all together again, in the place and time of their rituals and annual cultural events and to reorganize the customs as they received them from the previous generations and so they can pass them on to the next generations without changes that can affect the community.
The designations employed and the presentation in the texts and documents referenced in this platform do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.