On the second of May is the festival of the removal of the relics of St Athanaisos and there is a festival at his church in Chorio. This day has from the distant past been devoted to Koukkoumas, a fortune telling ceremony for would be brides to discover the names of their future husbands. This old custom takes place in the courtyard of Agios Thanassis church. Today the Symi Women’s Institute organises the ceremony accompanied by traditional dancing and musical instruments.

‘All around the tray are the partridges in their plumage, happy and beautifully dressed,
On the second of May, the Koukkoumas, I will find out my fortune and welcome will be he whom I will love and marry
So wake up, wake up Koukkoumas, because sleep weighs down and destroys you,
The Koukkoumas has passed through our neighbourhood and taken our youth and young queens,
Agios Thanassis, my Lord, come down from your throne so that you can see the joyfulness which is taking place in your courtyard.Agios Thanassis, my Lord, of the marble foundations, we are creating love beside you.'
From May Traditions and Customs by Irini Semerzaki (May edition of the Symi Visitor newspaper)

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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