Sarantaporo village is located northwest of Larisa. The capital of Thessaly region, Greece.
I heard about a custom that takes place there, on new year's day. The village is close to my city so i decided to go, see and photograph the whole scene. I started my journey from Larisa city and after seventy minutes i was at Sarantaporo. It is 65 km away but there are too many turns and i was driving very slowly. At 10 o’clock in the morning i was out of St. marina church. It is at the central square of the village and also the place where all the "koudouniarides" are gathered.
People dressed with traditional costumes started to come, after a few minutes. There were not many. Not more than ten. One of them (a man) was wearing a different costume than the others. He was dressed with a black fat cloak and was carrying big bells on his body and a big knife in his hands.
I talked to them. I explained what i wanted to do and they accepted it easy. They were very friendly and also feeling thankful that a photographer would deal with their village. They explained me what would they do and started to make jokes about my resistance because a long time walking was about to start.
We started walking. It was very cold and foggy. The man with the bell was knocking it hard making noise. The villagers new that the “koudouniarides” were coming. The other group was singing traditional songs and sometimes they were dancing in the streets. We were visiting every house of the village. The people were coming out, holding plates with sweets, chocolates, popcorn etc. Even cooked meat. Very soon i had my pockets of my jacket full of sweets. That time i also discovered that the cold could not be a problem. A lot of the villagers were giving us small cups of "tsipouro". (It's alcohol and it's strong). My friends had a really great time but i knew that if i continued to drink like this, i wouldn't be able to hold my camera straight... So i gently refused to drink more alcohol. The villagers were giving money too, which the local club would use for covering its expenses and for the preparations of future festivals.
After three and a half hours we had walked the whole village and visited every house. The koudouniarides had sung and danced all this time but i was the only one feeling tired and frozen.
The villagers help the local club to continue its activities. They enjoy it and also help to be kept this custom alive. The “koudouniarides” are feeling proud for continuing a long time custom. They told me that at the past there were more people taking part. They will keep on doing this, so that the young people will know and continue these customs too.