Sunday , August 1 2021

Giostra Of Zakynthos Programme, 2019

A centuries old tradition will take place in Zakynthos soon.. here’s the programme

FRIDAY 14th JUNE, 2019
Zakynthos Town Hall
Time: 20:00 Raising flags

Time: 20:30 An announcement of the commencement of Giostra, Zakynthos 2019
A display by delegations.

Traditional songs  presented by “Ionian Kyma”
Followed by Ionian folklore dancing by our teams from Zakynthos.

SATURDAY 15th JUNE, 2019
Cultural Center of Zakynthos
Time: 11:00
A meeting of all delegations from Italy, San Marino, Corfu, Kefalonia, Kythira, Lefkada with the council members of Zakynthos.
Greetings and Gift-Exchanges

The Square of Saint Saranda
Time: 19:30 The Children’s Giostra parade.
The procession will take place through the streets: Roma-Eleftherios Alexander, Venizelos – and end at Solomos Square where the competition for the dagger takes place.
Time: 20:15 The competition of the children’s Giostra
On completion of the event folklore dancing will be displayed by the teams from San Marino and the Seven Islands of the Ionian, a Children’s showman will be there to entertain the children

SUNDAY 16th JUNE,2019
The Square of St. Saranda
Time: 19:00 Grand Parade of all groups for Giostra, 2019
The procession will take place through the streets of : Alexander Romas -El. Venizelos and end at Solomos Square.

Time: 20:00 The competition event of Giostra, 2019 will begin.

On the announcement of the 2019 Giostra winner, for the first time an archery competition will take place

Entertainment with fire and medieval dance will also be highlighted throughout the event.

What is Giostra?

Giostra di Zante revives one of our oldest traditions. The non-profit organisation of ‘Giostra di Zante was founded in 2005. It’s primary aim is the establishment of the revival and representative of Giostra (highly skilled jousting) Research, studies on preservation, performance a display of the traditional customs of Zakynthos and the Ionian Islands, thus maintaining the connection of this with the past and the historical memory. Annually, over the three day period of ‘Holy Spirit’ day they organise a series of events, in which the main purpose is to bring together the citizens of Zakynthos, through Medieval ritual, which is inextricably tied to our history and culture of our Island.

Giostra is one of the oldest events known throughout Zakynthos, a competition in which the competitors were mounted and took part for the  chance to win the prize. First prize being a silver sword and a pair of silver spurs for second place and of course at that time to honor the maiden in which the knight chose to compete for.

Participating in Giostra were the families of the nobles, those of whose names were registered in what was called “(Libro d’Oro). However, although the nobles took part the event was watched by crowds of people from all walks of life. It was characterized by different historians and many would travel far just to see the event. As such, the event formed a more popular style. It is not by chance therefore that Giostra has been mentioned throughout history, literature and in theatre (Erotokritos, Eugenia) including literature by (D. Roma, A. Avouris).

The competition between the Knights in Giostra first took place around the area of Agigkos in Bochali, next to the first town in which was built upon the hills for safety reasons within the castle. Later, when the capital of the town became Aigialo, Giostra followed and it was then held along the main road of Rougas Square (today known as Alexandra Roma) and between the two churches located in that area. The day of the event was the Thursday carnival time (Pempti Tirofagou).

Giostra finally took on a more social character. On the day of the event locals would remove flower pots from their windowsills, railings from their balconies as these things gave the idea they were keeping their women enclosed as if jailed within their homes. It was through this act that equality was shown between men and women and that socially it should be expressed.

Giostra today…..
Giostra in Zakynthos, not only has a domestic flavour of the Ionian but also has an international character, many other European countries take part in the parade and in the competition. Up until now Italy, with its flag bearers and their magical displays, Slovenia, with its proud Hawk trainers along with their displays with fire and San Marino with their traditional dancing exhibits, the Czech Republic displaying their traditions, all take part. The organization has also made efforts to contact other countries and cities throughout Europe in which Giostras are held, internationally and domestically. The aim is to have future co-operation and to enhance the Giostra in Zakynthos, thus giving it a more European character.



About Louise Inzk

Louise is Australian born and has been a Greek citizen since 1991. She has deep cultural ties with the island, often writing about Zakynthian Traditions and Culture. She is also an active member of the Volunteer Group of Zakynthos, Giostra Di Zante and is a member of the women's choir "Rodambelos". Her love of the island and all it offers saw her joining the Zakynthos (Zante) Informer admin team in 2014.

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