In addition to making trips to the towns and beaches of Corfu, Greece, a visitor must complete his or her knowledge of this beautiful island by getting to know its lush green countryside. Picturesque hamlets and calm, peaceful olive fields await discovery, as do the manners and customs of the inhabitants, a couple of which are pictured in the photo below, taken in southeast Corfu outside of Petriti.
The Corfiots are proud to maintain their traditions, which include special events, festivals, music, weddings, dances and, particularly significantly, the production of agricultural products on a family level as well. Of the latter, starting about the middle of the month of February (once the olive harvest is over), the fever starts. Everywhere you look people are cultivating and planting, and homegrown potatoes are just as important as homemade olive oil or wine.
June sees the arrival of the corn harvest. Corn stalks are bound together into bunches and transported to threshing fields by donkeys. The use of donkeys for transport is especially common among older village people – who also often wear the more traditional clothing seen in this picture. Unfortunately, corn cultivation on Corfu is not that popular anymore, as the production of homemade olive oil often takes precedence. Almost all families who live in the countryside grow and process their own olives.
Nonetheless, every year, on June 23rd, local people celebrate the festival of ‘Ag. Ioannis Lampatares’, a commemoration of the end of the threshing period. This custom’s roots go back very far in time. At night, people light bonfires using the wreaths of corn from the threshing process, and all villagers jump over the fires in order to have luck and prosperity in their lives. Travellers who find themselves on the island around this time are welcome to join in with the festivities and to bring themselves a little luck along the way.