The makers and players of the instrument were mainly shepherds. The “pithkiavli” is made from reeds and in particular from the section between the two knots. Each one has its own sound and clarity, depending on its diameter and pipe length. The maker of “pithkiavli” must cut the reeds during December’s full moon. It is believed that “pithkiavli” is the most ancient Cypriot musical wind instrument. Findings from the sanctuary of Aphrodite in Pafos evidence the use of the flute since 2500 B.C., even in the church of Archangel Michael in Pedoulas village there is the Nativity mural of the 15th century depicting “pithkiavli”.
The “pithkiavli” and its magical qualities are present in the legends and local traditions of Cyprus. In Drouseia village, there is a cave dedicated to Saint Ampelis (Ais Amplias) where the saint was a shepherd and used that cave as his ascetic refuge. Shepherds pay homage to their patron Saint by leaving inside the cave “pithkiavli” as offerings, so that the Saint keeps their animals healthy. Call at Kataklysmos Festival (Flood Festival) in Larnaka in June to admire “pithkiavli” players to compete each other. Or head to Pachna village in early July to attend Shepherd’s festival; shearing and milking sheep and goats and preparation of dairy products are among the few things that you can do.