Δευτέρα, 20 Νοεμβρίου 2017

SONG AND CUSTOMS ASSOCIATED



 SONG AND CUSTOMS ASSOCIATEDWITH ENGAGEMENTS AND WEDDINGS                                                                                                                 S.TSIANIS The age – old  practice of matchmaking as well as dowry  system continue to be very significant  aspects of contemporary Skyrian life. When a match  (most often  initiated by the bridegroom’s family) is agreed to, the family of the bride will respond with an ison10.  This is  an important written document  that lists the entire  dowry being  offered to the bridegroom  by the bride’s  family. After the ison is thoroughly  discussed    and agreed upon, it is signed  by both parties  and witnessed by the local  priest11. The engagement is then completed and the ceremony is often concluded with this  traditional song: Example  16 (Song No. 108)  Now at the betrothal celebration  and the beginning of wedding I’ll  sing as long as I’m able; I’ll do  whatever  I can. I’ve become  hoarse and can no longer singTo please my company of friends. My bride most beautiful , my silken veil,The young  man we selected for  you is most worthy  and fitting.   You’re a gold watch, my bride,And from a good family.               A date  is then set for the presentation of the pitta (a flat cake or pie), that is, an evening during which the bride will visit the bridegroom’s  home for the first time. On that date the bride, accompanied by her parents,  relatives and close friends  begin  their procession through  the narrow village pathway  singing  at the tops of their voices  while  being  accompanied  by the local instrumental  duo of clarinet and laouto.  The bridegroom, his parents, relatives and friends  stand waiting  at the front door to receive   the procession. Upon arriving, the bridal party greets  the bridegroom with a special category  of music known as “bridegroom praising songs” or “pitta songs” . several typical distichs  with their  appropriate  refrains are cited below:  I beg you to be silent for just a little while, So that I can praise the groom who has such merit.  May you live, may you be lovedBy those who yearn for you.  You’re worthy  of praises,  and many of them,But this tongue  on mine isn’t competent enough.  The groom shines  tonight, As bright  as the morning star. May you lice, may you live a long lifeTo have a family of sons and heirs. My groom, you’re from good parentsAnd you possess elegant manners.       You’ve cast  a spell on meAnd I’m crazy about you. Love doesn’t  stand a chance in MayBecause it is summertime;Love is for the fifteenth of AugustWhen the winds  change. My  May, with your flowers,With joy and with songs. I was born in the month of MayAnd I’m not afraid of witchcraft;Except  if I’m bewitchedIn bed while asleep. Sorceress,  you’ve cast a spell on meAnd have bewitched my;You’ve entangled meIn your curly hair. Your sister has bewitched meAnd I’m crazy about you.     Dance  is an important aspect of the wedding celebration. Musicians  take their place in the middle  of the village  square  (platia) and the entire wedding party (which  may consist of over one hundred people) forms a large open circle  extending  from one end of the square  to the other. Invited guests  and spectators encircle the dancers. According  to tradition, the musicians  are obligated to continue  playing  nonstop (often for more than an hour  or two) until each member of the wedding party has had the opportunity to lead the dance. At this point in time anyone is free to join the dance which may continue until dawn. The traditional dance of Skyros is called the kaléh ( ο καλές). It is a slow stately dance performed  exclusively at weddings. It used to be that when people  wished  to dance the kaléh  , the instrumentalists were requested to cease  playing.  Franghoúlis  provides this picturesque description: “……… the dancing continues  on the threshing floor.  A lead dancer yields  the lead to another  and the violinists, who earn a great deal of money  from each (lead) dancer, are now playing  with much more gusto  because  they have been  treated to many drinks of ouzo. When the sun  begins to set, the violinists  must stop playing  so that the people may dance the kalén. All the dancers, men and women of all ages, gather together in such a manner that their arms are crossed in front of them (arm in arm). There is neither  a leader nor a trailing  dancer.  They are all holding hands and the dance formation resembles a  ring – shaped  loaf of bread (kouloúra).  The kaléh  dance is very slow  and all dancers  perform  identical steps – two small steps forward  and one back. The kaléh is indispensible during  weddings, for it is customary for women and men to sing praises  (to the bride  and bridegroom) that they have composed  beforehand.  These praises (in distich from)  are not written down but memorized. The poet begins the tistich with the first step of the dance and the distich is repeated (toh grhiriz’neh) by the entire group of dancers” 12. 

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