Traditional Feasts

The custom of Klidonas in Crete

The custom of Klidonas is rooted from the ancient times and mentioned in various texts of the ancient historians. The word “Klidonas” came from the ancient word “klidon” that means a forecasting sound, a sound of a prophetic sign.

Klidonas is a popular prophetic process during which the unmarried girls get to know to whom and when they will get married.

The custom starts in the eve of the celebration of Agios Ioannis, on the 24th of June. The unmarried women gather in a village and say to one of them to bring the “amilito nero” (i.e. the silent water) from the well or the spring of the village.

The water of the spring is put into a clay pot and every girl puts a rizikari (i.e. an object) in it. When all of them put something into the pot they cover it with a red piece of cloth and tie it with a cordon. The pot remains open during the whole night outdoors in order to be influenced by the stars…

The next day people are gathered in order to witness the prophetic process. The girl that carried “amilito nero” puts out the objects from the clay pot. A mantinada (i.e. a Cretan folk couplet) is said on every object taken off and the owner of the object learns about her future.

When the process is over, the girl that brought the water throws the water of the pot into the well and, then, covers it with a piece of cloth. After that they take it off and she reflects the rays of the sun or the moon in the well. At the same time the rest of the girls throw the rizikaria one by one into the well while the young men and women see their future in the well based on the wave of the water. Representation of the custom in the park of Knossos.