Cyprus Eastern Forum Archive
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|Posted By: brumble49|
| Christmas has become all about presents, eating delicious food and wild partying. Not only has the true religious meaning of Christmas been overshadowed by other commercial festivities, but certain tales that form an intrinsic part of our culture have unfortunately been long forgotten.|
Most of us are aware of the tales and legends of wicked goblins, but what about the Cypriot Kalikangiari? On the island, the Kalikangiari have a long tradition, with endless stories claiming that they visit humans every year during the twelve-day period from December 25 to January 5, known in Cyprus as the ‘dodecameron’.
These stories are not simply based on fantasy, but on the tales described by locals who claim to have witnessed Kalikangiari . “In the old days people were more innocent and lived in darkness most of the time. With no street lights, they would walk outside and wonder what was lurking in the shadows.” Apparently, adults would implant the fear of Kalikangiari into every youngster with their stories. Because of the frightening tales, kids were scared to wander outside during the ‘dodecameron’ nights in case they encountered the Kalikangiari , who would steal their voice. Rumour also has it that any women who were ‘disbelievers’ and would not cross themselves at night were easy prey for the Kalikangiari . Sometimes women would disappear in the middle of the night claiming that the evil creatures had abducted them. The truth of the matter however was that many women would fabricate these stories so they could spend the night cuddled up with their secret lovers!
In some places, people would not even wash their clothes or have a bath during ‘dodecameron’ for fear of the Kalikangiari appearing in the water. There would be no weddings either, as the public believed that the Kalikangiari would meddle under their feet and annoy the couple. The naughty creatures were even considered a problem during childbirth, where it was feared that they would bother the babies if they were left unguarded. To avoid the demons and swapping of babies, women would be watched continuously during labour. “Don’t forget that in those days, these stories were also a type of entertainment.” “Tales of Kalikangiari that went round the village were like the stories we see on television today. But saying that, don’t think that Kalikangiari are just a thing of the past. Even today young people have tales to tell."
The Kalikangiari appear as demonic, skinny and black. They are small awkward creatures with tails, horns, large ears, and crooked arms and legs. The images show the greedy creatures bothering humans as they lay in their beds at night, teasing women, disrupting households, tangling the yarn on a spinning wheel and engaging in frivolities in the cobblers’ shops. .
Some people may say it’s just a legend but why would everyone just make up the tales?”
Did you know?
In Cyprus, there is a belief that children who die un-baptised or are miscarried by their mothers are illegitimate and are transformed into little Kaligangiari . Every New Year’s Day they descend the chimney and call their mother with grievance.
The most popular traditions place the Kalikangiari into the bowels of the earth, except for the dodecameron, continuously striving with axes and saws to sever the tree that supports the earth, so they can topple it. Simple folk call it the pillar of the earth; they fantasise it as an enormous tree with a fifty-metre diameter extremely hard trunk. On December 25, they cease cutting the tree down and rush to the upper word to entertain them selves.
People deliver themselves from the Kalikangiari and their ills by careful defensive strategies implanted in them by their ancestors. Their defensive weapons are innumerable, some of which are: blocking chimneys with thorns, sketching the sign of the cross above doors and windows, placing a black-handled knife behind the door or a horseshoe in the chimney, sprinkling black cumin seeds when warm bread is taken out of the oven.
|Posted By: Tina Torment|
| Thoroughly enjoyed that tale. Thanks for that brumble49.
One thing I couldn't help but notice is that it seemed to be poor females that seem to be the main targets for these little imps$ i.e. "Women who were ‘disbelievers’, women would be watched during labour, teasing women in bed, women would disappear and women would fabricate these stories so they could spend the night cuddled up with their secret lovers!" Just an observation but how come poor women bare the brunt....? Phew...sure glad it's just a tale or these little devils would have eaten me for breakfast! :lol:
Another question and just being nosey, why are you called Memory Man on CL and brumble on here......is it because you have trouble with your.....erm.....memory? :lol: :lol:|