August 30, 2017

3139 GREECE (Crete) - Cretan Traditional Costumes

Located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea, Crete has a fascinating culture and it's people can boast an amazingly varied heritage of influence from miscellaneous cultures and civilisations. Crete itself is renowned for being the home of one of the earliest, if not the earliest, civilisations of the world, the Minoan civilisation. There followed the Dorians, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Venetians, and the Otomans.

However, the core of Cretan culture and traditions remained Greek and has been preserved over the centuries, especially in mountain villages, and traditional clothes are an argument in this regard. Many of the garments that form part of the traditional costume of the men came into use in the fourteenth century. Others like the kerchief are later additions.

On the heads they would wear sarikia, the black kerchiefs of special netted knit edged with a fringe of tiny little knots. According to the legend the knots symbolize the 'tears of Crete'. The mourning over the people lost at the explosion in the Arkadi Monastery during the uprisings against the Turks. They wear a black shirt and a sleeveless waistcoat (yileki), under a sleeved navy blue felt jacket.

Around the waist they wrap a zounari, which is a red silk sash about 8m long. Tucked through the sash is a silver knife, called a basalis. Finally, there is the kiousteki, an ornamental watch chain, worn around the neck a an embroidered cape, the kapoto. The wide baggy trousers made of heavy wool felt (vraka) protect the owner from the cold. On the feet they wear silk knitted socks and high boots (stivania) which can be either white or black.

There are several different kinds of women's dresses depending on from which region they originate. Some of the elements date back to Byzantine times (12th century). There are two basic variations: the Sfakiani, from the area of Sfakia in western Crete, and the Anoghiani (designed in the middle of the 17th century), mainly worn in the province of Mylopótamos.

The Anoghia Costume consists of a red draped half skirt (sartza), worn over white vraka type trousers. Tied around the waist is brostopodia, an embroidered double apron. A jacket in dark coloured felt richly adorned with gold embroidery (meitani), or a loose-fitting open sleeveles jacket (salamarka) were worn over the silk shirt. Tied around the head is skoufoma, a red kerchief decorated with a cotton fringe.

Red is also the wool sash worn around the waist, and a knife with silver sheath is tucked into the belt. This knife indicates that the woman is betrothed or married. Finally, she wears a necklace of gold coins. Boots are also worn by the women, though these are a little shorter than those of the men. Or they wear high heel black shoes. Unfortunately, nowadays the only chance to see traditional clothing is at folklore festivals or organized Cretan dance evenings.

About the stamps

The stamp is one of the two se-tenant stamps (0.90 and 3.40 EUR), issued on May 18, 2017, by Greece for Europa Stamps 2017, with the theme Palaces and Castles. The stamps depict the Castle of Methoni (a medieval fortification in the port town of Methoni, Messenia, in southwestern Greece.)

Cretan Traditional Costumes -
Cretan Costumes -
Crete Culture - Wikipedia

Sender: Mihnea Răducu
Sent from ??? (Crete / Greece), on 20.07.2017

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