Athens International Airport (AIA) celebrated on Friday, 1st March 2019 on a single-day event traditional Greek carnival festivities.The honoured travel destination for this period of time was Skyros and its renowned carnival processions. The island of Skyros represents the fifth destination of the renowned AIA’s cultural programme entitled Fly Me to the Moon – Sounds Greek to Me.
The programme chooses among a plethora of travel destinations that Greece offers in the tourism industry and focuses on its distinctive elements. Characteristics which contribute to the selection of a particular travel destination include among others beauty of its natural scenery and the presence of distinctive local identity framed by longstanding customs and natural ingredient gastronomy. Travellers on Friday had the opportunity to receive first-hand experience on the island’s carnival customs including music and dance processions as well as tasting local delights of sweet and salty flavours.
Within the programme’s context, the customs of Geros (senior citizen) and Korella (young girl) were performed. Both characters are heavily influenced by ancient Greek God Dionysus cult, with masks, crazy dances, and picturesque costumes leading the agenda. Senior citizens are the protectors of the airport’s people from evil forces. Dressed with picturesque costumes, frightening masks and belts with bells, they dance to dispel evil forces away. Meanwhile, the Korella girls embody the role of spirit purifiers. They hold a white handkerchief and with their rhythmic dances and waving of the handkerchiefs invite good forces to join the procession. These customs originate from the ancient history of the island where older shepherds were equipped with bells to alert fellow citizens of an imminent disaster. Besides customary processions, travellers were also acquainted with island carver art, including wooden artefacts and embroidery temporarily leased from the Faltaits Historical and Folklore Museum of Skyros. The exhibition was held on the open area of the Airport’s Departure level.
Carnival celebrations for the island of Skyros are built upon the heritage of the successful cultural event that takes consistently takes place for six consecutive years. It is a joint partnership programme between Athens Airport authorities and the renowned cultural forum, Eλculture. It represents one of the leading sources of culture creation for the Athens Airport. Previous destinations included among others the cities of Chania and Kozani and the region of Epirus.