A rebirth for an ancient pagan-Christian custom

A rebirth for an ancient pagan-Christian custom

A musician plays a santour during a revival of the Klidonas ritual at the park of Akadimia Platonos (Plato’s Academy) in central Athens, in a photo released on Saturday. Involving music, singing, dancing and leaping over fires, the ancient custom, which has both pagan and Christian roots, was celebrated Tuesday to mark the Summer solstice and the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Residents in many rural parts of Greece still gather in past decades to mark the occasion, lighting bonfires with kindling and their dried-up May wreaths – another age-old custom heralding the coming of spring – and leaping over their flames to cleanse themselves of sin. However, the ritual had all but died out in the Greek capital, until groups of residents in Akadimia Platonos, and also in the suburb of Kaisariani, decided to revive it. [Kostas Tsironis/AMNA]

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