Chios ~ The fragrant island

Agas

The custom of Agas is one of the oldest in Chios island and revives every Ash (Shrove) Monday in the central square of several villages (Mesta, Olympoi, Lithi). This tradition dates back to the Turkish occupation times, when the Turkish rulers of the Mastic villages punished local people with very heavy penalties.

According to this custom, one of the locals is dressed up as "Agas" (Turkish judge) in the morning of Ash Monday. He enters the village, along with his attendants (policemen, district attorneys) in a spectacular way and then takes his place and the jury begins. The trial involves parodies and sarcastic jokes about the defendants, who are picked randomly from the crowd.

Of course, noo-one is ever found innocent during this unorthodox trial and the most common punishment is "akavalos" (blows with a plastic bat)!

After the trial, a festival with traditional dances takes place.

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