During the three-day festivities in honor of Agia Paraskevi, every year in Metsovo on July 26 the memory of Agia Paraskevi is honored with formality, splendor, religious enthusiasm and the participation of many people in the traditional context of Metsovo. Agia Paraskevi has always been the patron saint of the Vlachs who call it “Sta Vinire” in Vlach. In the context of the events, firstly, the custom of the procession of the image of the patron saint is revived by riders, secondly, the girls ‘dance, thirdly, the swing on the koultouki, fourthly, the boys’ patinades during the afternoon on the day of Agia Paraskevi and fifthly, the great dance in the central of Metsovo.
On the eve of the feast, a great festive evening is sung and the procession of the icon of Agia Paraskevi follows in the main streets of Metsovo, with the participation of many priests and many people. On this day, on the morning of the feast, a hierarchical divine service is held in the same celebrating church. From the morning, residents of the village but also Metsovites non-permanent residents who come exclusively to participate in the events, wear the local traditional costumes, prepare the horses and roam the cobbled streets. Once the divine service is over, they gather in the courtyard of the temple and the priest delivers the image to the lucky one who emerges after a draw. Following is a procession of the image around the square, but also in the streets of the settlement led by the horseman who holds it and all the others to follow until they return to the temple and hand it over to the priests.
After the Divine Liturgy, there is the big dance of the women in the traditional costumes in the square in front of the church. Girls and women forming circles in the courtyard of the church of Agia Paraskevi, dance and sing love, exile, joy, sorrow, anticipation and in the Vlach dialect. In the afternoon, in the dance hall of Agia Paraskevi, the swing takes place, while then in the central square of Metsovo, the majestic dance for all takes place with the responsibility and organization of the Metsovo Dance Association, but also the participation of traditional dance groups and cultural groups other areas. The events are attended by the local authorities of Metsovo and not only, politicians of the country, but also many people, local and foreign tourists.
A new impetus to the feast of Agia Paraskevi was given in the 90’s by Archimandrite Seraphim and a close link of the events is the Dance Association of Metsovo which since 2000 organizes all the events and dance events. Also established was the awarding of a plush belt to a young woman in a traditional costume, an incentive for the new generations to continue the tradition of their parents wearing the rich and unique Metsovite clothing. Today, a plump traditional women’s belt (plotsa) and a men’s jewelry (bag) are drawn. Judging by the participation of the locals, the event was a complete success and was established as an annual traditional institution.
Rarely, the Holy Temple has as much historical weight as the church of Agia Paraskevi in Metsovo, which was and is for the Metsovites the axis of rotation of their religious, national and cultural life. We must not forget the contributions of the “bagpipe” of the church of Agia Paraskevi for the needs of the Hellenic School of Metsovo. Commissioners of the Hellenic School had to be from time to time Pastors of Agia Paraskevi. The church of Agia Paraskevi, in addition to its spiritual and cult character, is also a brilliant cultural monument that impresses visitors.
Tradition for the Metsovites is an integral part of their identity. Even in the difficult years of Ottoman rule, they did not renounce their culture. After all, the basic elements that characterize them are the religion, the language and the institution of the family. These, we would say, are the pillars that shape their way of life, both in the past and today. Inevitably, every year many Metsovites who do not live in the settlement flock in order to participate in the three-day events. Agia Paraskevi has always been an occasion to meet all those who stayed behind, but also those who returned from all over the world, for its celebration and for a pilgrimage to the homeland.
On horseback during the procession of the icon of Agia Paraskevi
The head horseman with the image of Agia Paraskevi
Festive events in the village square
Dance events in the main square