The local legend has it that the miraculous icon traveled on a raft, with a lit vigil light always next to it, which was not blown out by either the winds or the waves, leading the religionists from the Turkish-ruled Crete to the coasts of Ios.
Every year, a few days before the Assumption of Mary, the snakes get out nearby the church of Mary of the snakes. Crowds of believers come by to see the snakes and even touch them so that they get blessed by them.
Some summers after my teenage years I spent in Kos. One of my childhood friends originated from the island and we went to his vacation home. So I have plenty of pleasant memories from this island and now that I photograph all over Greece, I could not neglect it. I know of course that the tourist industry has the upper hand since then, but like every place in Greece, Kos has a great tradition behind, which I was determined to discover. Among hordes of tourists looking for cheap blue and vitamin D, some residents try to preserve what may have been left from past times.
Purpuris will be visiting the houses of the village and dance around their yards. He will wish prosperity and fertility for the year to come and the house owner will treat him with food and drinks, usually Tsipouro.
The Epiphany days in the village of Volakas. From newlywed couples dancing in freezing water, to scary animal looking masquerade of pastoral bell bearers
Some women visit home to home to invite others to the feast. They go into the yards, they chase chickens, dance, eat doughnuts made by housewives to cure them, drink wine. This goes on in every house and on the streets of the village.
The clock was ticking. It was getting dark and more people were going out in the streets, dressed as carnivals, ready to have some good time. You could hear Balkan music everywhere.
You can see the pain in some firewalkers' face, some others show no expression or emotion. This year, there is one girl that will participate in this custom for the first time. After two hurtful tries, she stops, but not because she was hurting as she said but because she felt sad since Saint Konstantin and Saint Helena did not help her, did not blessed her by making her capable of walking on fire.
After three and a half hours we had walked the whole village and visited every house. The koudouniarides had sung and danced all this time but i was the only one feeling tired and frozen.