Arapides of Profitis

On the day of Epiphany, January 6, in a village nearby Thessaloniki, called Profitis (Prophet), the custom of Arapides takes place. This is a Dionysian custom where people of the village are dressed in goat's skin, wear colorful long hats and hang large pastoral bells around their waists to scare away the Kallikantzaroi.
Photography / Text: George Tatakis

On the day of Epiphany, January 6, in a village nearby Thessaloniki, called Profitis (Prophet), the custom of Arapides takes place. This is a Dionysian custom where people of the village are dressed in goat's skin, wear colorful long hats and hang large pastoral bells around their waists to scare away the Kallikantzaroi (malevolent goblins found in Greek folklore, who dwell underground, only to come out during the twelve days of Christmas to bring mischief to the people). 

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

I was staying in Thessaloniki, so this was a perfect event to attend. I had visited another village before to see the blessing of the water, since this takes place on the same day earlier in the morning, so I arrived at Profitis just on time. Everything was set up around the central square. A nice stage with musicians was in the center and they had already started playing music. 

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides started to gather, coming from all sides of the square. Each one gets dressed up in his place and maybe find a couple more along the way before getting to the square. The dancing soon starts. Apart from the Arapides, there are many locals dressed in traditional dancing clothes.

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

When all of the Arapides have gathered, they move off to another place where they will be starting a parade. Traditional instrument players follow along and the start a short parade towards the central square. 

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis

The party goes on with a lot of dancing, drinking wine and eating local delicacies, including souvlaki and grilled sausages. 

Arapides of Profitis - Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
Arapides of Profitis
Greece. Central Macedonia. Egnatia. © George Tatakis
#arapides #babuger #kallikantzaroi #ancient #christmas #dionysian #epiphany #profitis #goblins #pagan #carnival

Location

Arapides of Profitis

Unnamed Road Profitis
Egnatia, Central Macedonia, Greece