Almond Festival (February)
The “Feast of the Almond, has been celebrated on Hydra since the first decades of the twentieth century, initially among small groups and then as a collective island celebration. It takes place every February and celebrates the coming of spring. During this time, the flowers are blooming, and the central theme of the feast is the blossoming almond tree. The celebration involves a procession from the port of Hydra, with a woman dressed as a bridegroom and a man wearing a bridal veil and dress. Singers and musicians lead the procession of the “bride” and “groom” and dozens of participants, starting from the port of Hydra and heading into the town to pause under a flowering almond tree. There the group sings:
Ετίναξε την ανθισμένη αμυγδαλιά
με τα χεράκια της
και γέμισε από άνθη πλάτη κι αγκαλιά
και τα μαλλάκια της.
Αχ! Σαν την είδα χιονισμένη την τρελή
γλυκά της μίλησα
Της τίναξα τα άνθη από την κεφαλή
και την εφίλησα
She picked the flowering almond blossoms
with her hands
and filled with flowers her back and arms
and her hair.
Ah! It’s as if I saw snowy crazy
sweets, I said to her
I shook the flowers from her head
and kissed her
Then the procession returns to the harbor to feast with music and songs until late at night.
During the celebration in February 2016, the following musicians played and sang: Thanasis Daskalakis (guitar), George Daskalakis (bouzouki), Dimitris Arvanitis (bouzouki), and Andreas Demetriou (song). Many others have sung and participated in the celebration.
This post is a translation of an article by Spilios Spilotis. All photos are his as well. For the original, please visit his Hydras Politeia blog. the video was uploaded to youtube by ΥΔΡΑΣ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΑ.