spacer.png, 0 kB
Article Index
Page 2


The Anafanos is a favorite Messenikolitan custom related to the mass of Easter night, when the Resurrection of Jesus is celebrated. All villagers recall happy childhood memories connected to this custom. This bonfire was the children’s work, which was burnt in the evening before Easter Sunday probably to symbolize the burning of Judas, the disciple that betrayed his Master.

Many years ago, when the village throbbed with more life than today, the building of the Anafanos was a real kids’ fete, which lasted the whole Passion Week.

The older boys of the village undertook the task of cutting down small cedar and holly bushes, which the younger ones hauled to the site appointed for the building of the bonfire right at the top of the village.

There they piled up the bushes building a stack that reached higher than 30 feet. The stack was bound to a vertical wooden axis. This entire task was already completed by Easter Eve and everybody beamed with pride in having contributed to the construction of the Anafanos.

On Saturday evening all the kids gathered around the Anafanos to await the Resurrection announcement by the priest on the churchyard – the church was in full view from the place – and to guard the bonfire from the envious kids of the nearby village who always attempted to thwart the Anafanos by prematurely putting fire to it. On the other hand, that was also the kids’ excuse to spend the whole night outdoors because in those days the Resurrection celebration took place at 4 o’clock in the morning. The time was spent merrily with songs, jokes and pranks, and at the same time the kids had the opportunity of enjoying the enthralling night view of the plain of Thessaly with the innumerable lights of the villages that merged with the glimmer of the stars.

At midnight the Resurrection fireworks from the 12-mile distant town of Karditsa were clearly visible, as the town celebrated the Resurrection at that time, but the Messenikolas kids had to wait four more hours to start their own pyrotechnics by burning the Easter Bonfire.

During the long wake until the Resurrection it could get bitter cold, therefore the children raided the nearby fences and yards to get the necessary fuel for their warming.

As soon as the kids saw the first churchgoers coming out of the church with their candles lit, they put fire to the stack all around it. After a few moments the blaze was so bright that it turned the night into day. Then the voice of the priest and of the entire congregation as well as that of the children rang in the night by chanting the Resurrection canticle Christ is Risen. The atmosphere was really devout.

Despite the meager number of children nowadays, this custom still goes on.


spacer.png, 0 kB

© 2007 | Developed and Hosted by PlusHost Solutions | Supported by