The Agas Event

The Greek culture is very rich in holidays, festivals and happenings. Also on Chios Island we can witness many different celebrations.
One of them is the “Agas” event. This important happening takes place at Olympi and Mesta on Ash Monday, 48 days before Orthodox Easter.

Because this holiday takes place on the first day after the carnival, we can observe many elements related to it.

The event is about the beginning of spring, but it is also a parody of the convictions and the collection of taxes at the time of the Ottoman domination.
They used to punish people with every opportunity they had.

The name is taken from the Turkish word “Ağa”, which meant the higher civil servant. Today it is a courtesy title and it literally means “lord”.
One person becomes the protagonist – the Aga. His task is to pick out and to judge the most famous participants of this event. They have to pay fines to the association organizing the happening. In case of failure to fulfill this obligation, such a person can be publicly ridiculed.
During this holiday people eat snacks and drink a lot of “souma”, the distilled vodka from grapes or figs. These habits commemorate the old obligation of hosting the Ottoman tax-collectors and officials.
Making jokes and teasing each other is a part of the procedure and no one knows if it will be his turn to answer to the Agas next.

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