In every corner of Crete, whether it is steep summits, inaccessible coasts, thick forests, rocks or caves, the visitor will discover the strong religious faith of the island’s inhabitants. Hundreds of small country churches, which served as landmarks for the Cretans during hard times, still exist today.
Many of them still celebrate once a year. The pilgrims have the chance to come close to nature and taste good wine and snacks (meze), and of course, in the area of Chania, to sing their traditional “rizitika songs” around the “table”. You get the impression that their voices come from the deep gorges and are echoed on the slopes of Madara.
The themes of the songs may vary: Sometimes they refer to the saint that is being honoured, sometimes to the hosts, the bravery, the comradeship etc. but always there is a relevant verse called “mantinada” before or after the song.
The festivals that take place in the villages are opportunities for a big party, with music and dance until the next morning. In the past there were also festivals in which musical instruments were played.
To the west, in Kissamos and Selino, it was usually the violin and the lute, while in other places it was the traditional “lyra” accompanied by the lute. Today musical instruments are usually played in various entertainment halls in the villages.