Old Town - Dances and “Gaitanaki” custom
The carnival events of the Municipality of Nafplio are starting each year with the custom "Gaitanakia", the first weekend of the "Triodio" opening (orthodox religious term). The “gaitanaki” custom, which has made its presence felt in recent years at the Greek cities center events, has passed to Greece by refugees from Pontus and Asia Minor and has tied in with the other local customs symbolizing the spirit of fellowship, love and unity. The skill of the dancers and its particular character always make a special impression.
As so, throughout the old city of Nafplio, groups of cultural and other clubs are dancing along with –and around- their own maypole under the sounds of traditional music.
Starting from various points, for instance, from the Square of the Three Admirals (Town Hall Square) the Dancing Club of the Association "Friends of PLI"; From Kapodistrias Square "The Greek Dance Workshop"; From Agios Georgios Square the Folklore Dancing Club of Asini and of Agia Paraskevi "Kastraki", along with the Association of Parents and Guardians of Kindergarten and Primary schools; From the Onassis Square often starting the Dancing Group of the Agia Triada Educational Association, along with “Tatsis” dance school or "Horokinissis" school; every group holding and knitting their colorful maypoles, singing and dancing in carnival rhythms, end up at Syntagma Square and engaging us all in a blast of fun!
Did you know that?
The word "gaitanaki" is a diminutive of the medieval word "gaitanin” meaning silk cord, strip, tape, and was created by the trend that our Greek language has to add the suffix "-aki " in order to denote the diminution. It comes from the Hellenistic years, after the death of Alexander the Great, from the Hellenistic word "gaitani". The name probably has to do with the city of Gaeta in Italy, which was an Ionian colony of Samos, known for producing ribbons. The ribbons were usually made of cotton, wool or silk and they were a decorative element of the dresses.