Every year from December 25 to January 5 the village streets of Kozani, Greece light up with more than just christmas lights – they come alive with the ancient customs of the Momoeria -actors, musicians and dancers filling the village streets and visiting people’s homes in celebration of the new year.
Recently UNESCO has announced that is has inscribed the ancient custom of the Momoeria on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, making sure that this beautiful cultural tradition will be preserved for future generations to come.
What is the Momoeria?
The dancers in the group are made up of 30 male performers and they represent the priests of Momos, or the god of laughter and satire, as well as representing commanders of Alexander the Great, dressed to the finest detail in traditional shoes, pleated skirts and helmets.
The actors surround the traveling group of dancers while acting out well-known satirical plays while the musicians play along in the background.
The practice of Momoeria is to bless the village for the upcoming new year with prosperity, healthy offspring and a good harvest.
Something notable about this accomplishment of landing on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is that this is the fourth Greek tradition to be branded a sacred cultural heritage. Previously additions on the list include the Mediterranean Diet, the traditional harvesting and produce of mastic on the island of Chios and the marble expertise of Tinos island.