Traditional Easter Games
In the Heartland of Legends villages on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, people of all ages gather either at the square or at the church yard or at the school yard to play traditional Easter Games. Many of these games have ancient Greek or Byzantine origins and are proof of the historical continuity of our tradition. The games are mainly entertaining and offer both physical as well as mental challenges, as many of these require strength, stamina and a good sense of humor. Easter games involve minimal equipment and simple rules.
Here are some of the most popular of our Easter Games:
Avgoullodromies (Egg race): The players run with a spoon in their mouth on which an Easter Egg is placed. The aim is to reach the finish line without dropping the egg.
Ziziros (Cicada): A player stands with her left palm open under the right armpit, while covering her right eye with the right hand so that she can’t look behind. The other players stand behind, and one of them strikes her on the left palm. After being hit, she turns towards the other players and guesses who hit her. In order to mislead her, all players raise their right index finger making the sound “zzzzzzzz” like a cicada. If she guesses the culprit correctly, the latter takes her place.
Ditzimin (weight-lifting game): this game was a favorite for the strongest men of the village. “Ditzimin” is a large, heavy stone. Each player must lift this stone and take as many steps as he can while holding it. The player who moves the stone the farthest is the winner of the game.
Sakkoulodromies (Sack race): Players put their feet in sacks, holding them up to their waist. The goal is to be the first to reach the finish line by jumping into the bag. This is one of the funniest games as the contestants often lose their balance and fall.
Shini (rope pulling): This game is played by two teams. The rope is marked in the middle with a handkerchief and a line is drawn on the ground below the handkerchief. Each team holds one end of the rope and pulls to drag the other team over the mark on the ground.
Easter Games guarantee a memorable day outdoors filled with fun and laughter. Don’t hesitate to participate and just do your best!
Cyprus Easter Games are listed in UNESCO Cyprus Intangible Heritage List.