The “Maides” custom of Makrinitsa
“Maides” (meaning “Mays”) which are named after May, the most flowery month of spring, is a folk and dance custom which takes place in Makrinitsa. It is one of the most famous and traditional customs of the Greek Mayday. Many of the “happenings” involved in this custom, refer to the ancient Dionysian myths and the main rituals of the nature cult during the ancient years. These myths, mainly those referring to Adonis and Dionysus, bear a lot of the custom’s characteristics in the years of the Turkish Domination and the years later. The basic story is: a person is assassinated; it is then buried with a fresh branch or a flower in hand and in the end, the person comes back to life with the songs and dances of its friends. This festival is a drama performance carried out by 15-20 men in disguise around a man dressed in flowers, called “May”. At some point, one of the disguised young men tease in an indecent manner the young girl that followed the company and then the young man dressed in the traditional Greek kilt, the janissary, shoot and “kill” the guilty one. When the death of the latter discovered by the company of May, they place a flower on the “dead” and begin a cheerful dance around him. In this frenetic atmosphere, the dead man come back to life and follows in perfect health his happy friends. The other members of this spring Theater Company, celebrating nature in its most beautiful moment. This old custom which bears a lot of symbolisms and meanings received a lot of influences over the course of time. The custom stopped in 1911, during the Balkan Wars, it was revived in 1957 and after a short break it is continued today with the contribution of the Community and the willingness of local people.