PROTOMAGIA -MAY DAY HOLIDAY

PROTOMAGIA -MAY DAY HOLIDAY

May 1st is an international labour day and in Zakynthos it is called Protomagia. This literally means the first day of Spring.

Wild flowers zakynthos zante villa holiday

May Day has its roots in ancient times. It is the first day of May and the celebration of Spring. According to tradition, May was named after the Roman goddess Maia, which is the Greek word for midwife, nurse and mother. Ancient Greeks had dedicated the fifth month of the year to Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, and her daughter Persephone, who would return to her mother on that month after spending the winter with Hades in the underworld.

Wild flowers zakynthos

 

This holiday is a celebration of both spring and labour. On the our island of Zakynthos it is a national public holiday. Traditionally villagers would celebrate this special day with flowers. May wreaths were made with the local wild flowers and placed on doors until  until mid-summer. At the feast of St. John of Klidonas, on June 24th, the May wreaths are thrown in the open fires lit on the streets and squares. On some islands there is an old tradition of fire jumping at these celebrations.

wild flowers zakynthos zante villa holiday

Nowadays you are more likely to see people just enjoy a BBQ and time with their friends and family. It is a day to pause and reflect  just before the business of the summer season.

Kali Protomagia

 

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