ΨΗΦΙΑΚΟ ΜΟΥΣΕΙΟ ΒΛΑΧΟΚΕΡΑΣΙΑΣ

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The cultivation of grains (e.g. corn, wheat, barley, fodder, vetch) secured the production of foods for the villagers and their domestic animals and constituted a significant economic activity for the Vlahokerasiotes farmers. Such grains were cultivated usually in arid (often terraced) farmlands located in the periphery of the village[1]. Although less common, grain cultivation was also done in irrigated fields in the vicinity of the village as well as and in the winter settlements where almost every farmer had his own threshing floor.

We start the cycle of grain cultivation with plowing[2], continue with the reaping of wheat, the transport of the wheat bundles to the threshing grounds, the collection of wheat bundles at wheat stacks close to the threshing grounds, the threshing of wheat and the transport of hay, and end up with the grinding of wheat at the flour mills (for the flour and water mills, see also the thematic unit on “Skiritida Forest” under the menu category “Views – Environment”. The cycle of grain cultivation closes with the unit on “Our Pastas, Breads and Cakes” under the menu category “History – Traditions”.

The photo materials are accompanied by several hyperlinks which include excerpts from books, video clips and films with and without sound, articles and narratives of compatriots. Among the hyperlinks, worth singling out are: (1) an excerpt from the book, Laografia Kerasias (Arvantitokerasias), Arcadias written by the late Anastasios Stefanou, which deals with the donkey, one of the common beasts of burden, its significance for the farmers and its character (2) two articles from the “Voice of our Village” written by Eleni Velissaris (6/1992) and Ismini Mandros (9/1998), for the wheat harvest and threshing (3) an article also from the “Voice of our Village”, written by Giorgos Mitropoulos (3/2008), that deals with the occupations of Vlahokerasiotes in the remote past, with special reference to the wheat harvest (4) the narrative of Constantina Karkalas to Kiki Katsafanas about the “nightwork” (nychteria) that were organized, among other reasons, and for the de-husking of corn (5) two narratives, recounted to Kiki Katsafanas, that focus on the flour and water mills of Valtena (6) a video-clip from the theatrical performance of the Vlahokerasia Junior H.S. about the watermills (7) a second video clip from the documentary filmed by Angelike Kontogiannis (Contis) on the traditional and mechanized reaping, which she filmed in 2001 during her visit to her father’s hometown (8) two brief films, without sound, shot by the undersigned during his visit to his birthplace (1968), which also deal with traditional and mechanized threshing. Many of the above hyperlinks (narratives, articles, video clip) do not restrict themselves to the functioning of traditional infrastructures of that period (e.g. mills) or the subject under consideration; they also refer to the social transformation of an agrarian society and to migration.

We have already made reference to the gaps in our collection (See footnote 2). Undoubtedly, most of these could have been covered by materials from the internet; However, we prefer materials from our village, which compatriots may have in their archives and albums. Of great folklore value for the VDM would be materials (photos, historical documents, narratives, films etc.) concerning the numerous flour and water mills of Vlahokerasiotes in Valtena, especially during the period of operation and before the arrival of electricity and their abandonment.

Nikos P. Petropoulos
VDM Committee Coordinator

Click here or on the image above to browse the flipping book.

 


[1] These farmlands had their local place-names, most of which were identified for us primarily by Giannis Zeppos and secondarily by Ilias Petropoulos. They include: Siouris’ Kabos, Tsouka, Tsere, Kato Kabos,  Zestano, Splitharia, Megalo Splithari, Asprovounia, Kanataki, Tziama’s Rahi, Alataries, Kolyma, Tziouka, Bouzas’ Vrahos, Louria, St. Constantinos’ Kabos, Lazo, Ladikou, Makriplai, Koka’s Vounaki, Marsi, Baziotis’ Gortsia, Zeli’s Straight, Katsaberia, Maros’ Lakka, Sgavres, Baboutsikou, Kantalos, Agia Eleni, Dourvelas’ Lakka, Mourtzies (close to Zeli), Skamitsa, Agriokerasia, Mega Cheroma, Bologiannis’ Lakka, Koutoupa, Rizes, Melissiou ta Vrahia (or Melissi),  Billi’s Lakka, Doka’s Lakka, Balkonaki, Agriokorobilitsa, Koukouvagia, Nikita’s Plevra, Gave’s Hounes, Dimitroula’s Hounes, fterolakka, Katsaro’s Pigadi, Prapa’s Lakkakia, Vatia, Kritharakia, Psili Rahi, Aspro Lithari, Strati’s Rahi, Paliolakka, Eftakarvelou’s Vrysi, Hari’s Rahi, Agiannis, Faki, Zeppo’s Houni,  Krokaliakia, Bouziki, Prosilio, Tsougariza, Praga’s Lakka, Asoumani’s Lakka, Kopeli, Mourtzies (below the cemetery), Kefalovryso, Xeropigado,  Demo’s Perivolia, Sgouria, Rentiri, Katavothria.  

[2] We are lacking materials on sowing, weeding, winnowing (various methods), the first [coarse] sieving (sorting)  at the threshing ground,  packing of the wheat in burlap sacks for transport to the house, the storage, the washing/drying and the second (fine) sieving (sorting) of wheat, before transporting it to the flour mills for grinding. For a relevant illustrated glossary accompanied by photos, the visitor may also consult the fourth part, “Folklore and Glossary” of the Angelos Bistolas et al. monograph, Vlahokerasia: History, Demography and Folklore (in Greek) in the menu category, “History –Traditions”.  

 

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