The 1st of March is traditionally recognized as the beginning of spring and it is the time when the swallows (chelidonia) return home.
To celebrate the end of winter and the coming of the swallows, children used to sing the chelidonismata(swallow's carols).
These carols are similar to traditional carols but rather than expressing the anticipation of Christmas, they tell us of the joys of spring. This is a very old tradition dating back to ancient Greece, and the carols themselves differ from region to region.
The children made a wooden swallow, with bells around its neck. This was attached to a rod carried by them and they went from house to house singing the songs.
March came the good and April the cool.three little birds came and sat on twigs.
The birds are cheepingThe trees are blooming
The housewives then gave the children some olive oil, flour, wheat, eggs, or in some cases money, which the children offered to the church.
Our 2nd grade pupils making swallows
On March 1st, mothers used to make woven bracelets for the children. These bracelets are called Martis. The word derives from the Greek word Martios, which is the month of March. They were made of red and white thread. It was believed that these bracelets would protect the children from diseases, or from the hot March sun.
They used to wear these bracelets until the end of March. Then they left them on a tree or a rose bush, so that the swallows would take them and use them to build their nests.
Lazarines Lazarines is a purely female custom. It refers to the fact of the resurrection of Saint Lazarus.
Only girls were dressed Lazarines.
On Saint Lazarus Eve, the girls picked up flowers and used them to decorate baskets .The next day, wearing their local dresses and holding the baskets, they went to all the houses singing Lazarus carols.
Arise Lazarus and dont be asleep. Your mother has come
-Tell us what you saw in Hades you went- I saw fear, I saw horror, suffering and pain...
In some places they took a perforated spoon and they put in two of the holes buttons or flowers to make the eyes and a red carnation for mouth and thus they formed a face. Over the spoon they tied a wood to make hands and used clothes to dress this doll which supposed to be Lazarus or one of his sisters.
Our 2nd grade pupils making Lazarines
The women baked on that day a special kind of buns the "lazaroudia" or "lazarakia" which had the shape of a man wrapped in sheets, just as Saint Lazarus is represented in icons.
Another old custom is Perperouna. If it didnt rain for a long time a little girl, usually an orphan, was dressed Perperouna. She wore a kind of costume made of leaves.
The little girl, along with other children, went from house to house singing.
Perperouna was walkingPraying to the Lord for rain
- God, send us a little rain
and the housewives sprinkled water over her until it dripped to the ground, as if it had really rained
Music: Routes of spring. (Stamatis Spanoudakis) 3rd Primary School of VoulaThank you !