Holiday Villas in Crete, Traditional Apartments in Crete, Luxury Crete Villas, Holiday Crete Apartments

holiday villas in crete and traditional apartments in crete

A tour in the unique island of Crete - Cretan Culture

Enjoy your vacations with our amazing villas and apartments in Crete
holiday crete villas and traditional crete apartments
Holiday Crete Villas
Villas in Chania
Villas in Rethimnon
Villas in Apokoronas
Villas in Plakias
Holiday Crete Apartments
Apartments in Plakias
Car Rental
Flights to Crete
About Crete
Contact Us

The Cretan Culture

Crete Holiday Villas welcomes you to sunny and beautiful Crete, an island of unique and unforgettable experiences in south Greece. Our company offers high quality accomodation services in Crete, providing high quality holiday crete villas and apartments for rent in low prices and special internet offers.
The Cretan Culture
Overview History Culture Sites Maps Links
The culture, the customs and the tradition of Crete

For centuries Crete has held intact its own distinctive rich and proud culture. Cretan Greek has been maintained as the spoken language, and Cretan wine is a traditional drink. The island is known for its cuizine, its music, and it has many indigenous dances, the most noted of which is probably the Pentozali.

Cretan Food

In the latest years many mentions have been made about the Cretan Diet and Mediterranean Diet. So it is now well known that the Cretan and Mediterranean Diet is not only aromatic and tasteful, but also extremely healthy. The Cretan CuisineThe food has already taken the right place in our culture, equivalent to our monumental identity and our sun and sea. The most important product that gave so much credit to Cretan Diet is our virgin olive oil. The contribution of the local wine, vegetables, meat, dairy products (feta cheese, gruere) is also significant.

The modern dietology considers the Cretan diet and the Cretan way of life as the reason for long living and good health. Most of the international researches bring Crete forward as the example of the Mediterranean Diet. Since the suggestion that the residents of the island have the lowest mortality rates internationally and the less heart attack or cancer diseases, scientists started searching for the identity of the Cretan Diet that gives the Cretans all these health privileges. But very soon it was obvious that it was all about a story well hidden in the past time. That means it isn’t a result of a research by some scientists but a biological experiment that lasts thousands of years!

How to prepare a Cretan Food
Cretan Music

Cretan music is wild and unpredictable. Quite a different thing to the disciplined bouzouki music of the Greek mainland. Endless melodies, one after the other in complicated 7/8 or 9/8 time, sometimes monotonous and archaic, sometimes almost ecstatic. The oriental influence cannot be missed.

The main role is taken by the lyra, the traditional three-stringed instrument made of mulberry wood, supported on the knee. It resembles a violin, but is played by grazing the strings with a fingernail and plays the main melody. A theme is repeated with an infinite number of varitations and embellishments. The laouto (a type of lute, doublestrung, 4 or 6 double strings) and the tambouras (bouzouki) serve as accompanying instruments.

The Cretan Music There is often singing, too, with the singer and the lyra leading the melody alternately. The verses mostly consist of Mantinades (or Kondylies), which are 15-syllable couplets with a lot of humour and spirit. They are often created spontaneously and deal with love, nature or worldly affairs, sometimes spoofing members of the audience. There are Mantinades for every occasion, and even children practise them. The original form of making music is met at most Cretan festivals. Even young people are mostly interested in it, in spite of the existence of pop music, and there are even complete orchestras of lyras in the cities. The lyra is an exacting instrument to play, and with hard work and talent it can bring a masterful virtuosity to it's player.

Cretan traditional music is very complex due to the fact that many civilizations, at various periods of time, have intruded and inhabited the island: Venetians, Saracens, Turks...Moreover, after 330 B.C. Greek civilization followed two trends, one following Alexander the Great (in the East) and another following the Roman trends (in the West). Crete was a colony of the Byzantine Empire and occasionally received many refugees.

All kinds of music that the various cultures have introduced to the island have stayed there and created a chaos of sounds. The Cretans have combined and embellished all these kinds of music and created all these beautiful songs we can hear up untill today, like rizitika ('rebel' feast music), amanes (popular musical genre originated in Ionia and famous in Smyrna, which includes an instrumental introduction, two lines sung with long melismas on the word aman, and a faster instrumental refrain) and Erotokriti (folk songs based upon the celebrated love poem Erotokritos by the Cretan Poet Vincenzo Cornaros. It contains upwards of 10.000 lines, equal to 5000 verses, composed in the 16th century).

Cretan Dances

Dances provide the most authentic evidence of the continuity of Crete't popular tradition and rhythm. Cretans may dance for hours at most social events, weddings, christenings, festivities, celebrations etc.

Often dances take the form of competition in stamina and bravery. Most importantly, however, they provide an outlet for the discharge of suppressed feelings. In short, dances are part of life in Crete.

The revival and dissemination of dances between 1945 - 1975 is mainly an achievement of self - taught performers from the mountainous areas of the island. The contributions of Stamatis Papadakis, Michalis Lefakis, Antonis Stephanakis, Thanasis Stavrakakis, Thomas Chnaris and Orestis Sarris are undeniable.

The Cretan Dances Today there are five, clearly distinct types of dances in Crete. However, there are more, but of local significance.

  • Syrtos: A circle dance popular all around Crete particularly in Rethymnon and Chania. Dancers hold arms to the height of shoulders. The dance comprises 12 steps.
  • Maleviziotis: A lively back and forth dance popular in eastern and central Crete. It is danced with arms interlinked at the height of shoulders. It comprises 16 steps.
  • Sigano Pentozali: A sedate swinging dance with arms interlinked on each dancers shoulders. It is popular all over Crete. It is usually danced during wedding celebrations and it is known as the dance of the bride. The dance comprises 8 steps.
  • Pentozali: A lively swinging circle dance with each dancer's arms interlinked at the shoulder. It is popular all over Crete. This dance usually follows its Siganos counterpart and comprises 11 hopping steps.
  • Sousta: This dance is also popular in Crete. It is danced by pairs of boys and girls standing opposite each other dance it. The hands reflect movements of the dance. The dance comprises 4 steps and dancers have freedom of movement; they may change places or make turns.
Cretan Traditional Custumes

Although the cretan male costume is not as popular as it was in the past, in some villages or formal occasions, there are many older men wearing it. The costume is very impressive and consists of the characteristic black kerchief with the fringes on the head, the light coloured woven shirt with the black vest known as “meidanogileko” and the traditional "vraka" (salvari) trousers, tied around the waist with a very long (10 m.) silk scarf. In the winter, the shoulders are covered with a warm cape, while the feet are protected from the cold with the white boots called “stivania”.

The Cretan Traditional Custumes The costume varies from area to area, not only as far as the head kerchief is concerned - it can be a fez with a navy blue tassel, known as “sfakiano” - but as to the colour of the belt, too - it can be black or red. The formal costume is made of higher quality fabrics than the daily one. Silk is used and the shirt and the cape are decorated with many embroideries.

The female traditional costume can be seen today at feasts, cultural events and laographic museums. The most usual type consists of a kind of vraka (apomesoroucho), the "sakofoustano" on top and the beautifully embroidered and decorated apron called "brostopodia". On the head, there is a kerchief (tsemberi) or, in some places, a little red fez called "papazi". Women also wear low heel boots called “stivania” or high heel black shoes. The costume varies from area to area.

The mountainous mainland areas prefer the variation of Anogia, while the plain and urban areas prefer “soforia”. Soforia replaces apomesoroucho with a red skirt, while the shirt is covered with "meidani" or "saltamarka". The costume of Anogia also includes an embroidered double apron, tied round the waist, decorating sakofoustano. The formal costume has more ornaments, gold coins and embroideries on the apron and the kerchief, than the daily one.

The wedding in Crete

In the villages of Crete, the parents' consent - particularly that of the father - is necessary for one to get married. The couple thus asks their parents' consent and blessing. The first step is the "pledge" or engagement ceremony, which takes place at the house of the bride-to-be and is blessed by a priest. The Wedding in Crete After that, the marriage contract is drawn and signed. A few days before the wedding, the quests sent their "kaniskia" or presents, usually oil, wine, cheese or meat.

Before the ceremony, the trousseau is carried from the house of the bride to the groom's house. It consists of handwoven or embroidered articles, sheets and household furnishing. It is accompanied by relatives and friends in a joyful parade, to the sounds of lyre, singing and gun fires. The ceremony includes a parade from the groom's house to the bride's house. There, a woman sings a mantinada to persuade the family to open the door. The bell calls the newly-weds to the church.

After the ceremony, the couple goes to the groom's house where his mother feeds the bride with honey and walnuts and makes a cross at the front door, while the bride pours honey and breaks a pommerode, to have a sweet, "rose" marriage. Celebration starts with the couple singing and dancing, drinking and eating ends in the daylight.

Copyright 2010, Crete Holiday Villas, Crete Holiday Apartments