The writing of a brief history of Vlahokerasia was thought necessary soon after the constitution of the Committee for the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum. Angelos Bistolas, an Elementary School teacher, and Anna Martinou, a Secondary Education teacher (with a specialization in Greek and English Philology – language, literature and history) (See photo), responded to the challenge. In the process of writing, the authors broadened their assignment in order to also include relevant aspects of demography, public administration and folklore.
As we have said in the home page (introduction) of our website, VDM is an open system which can be can be continuously enriched. During the August 2017 meeting the VDM committee accepted Angelos Bistolas’ and Anna Martinou’s proposal to introduce a new subcategory of content under the title “Efthymographimata Vlahokerasioton” (funny, everyday-life short stories), which have been passed on to Vlahokerasiotes from generation to generation. The new subcategory will be a page of the general menu category: “History-Traditions”.
The material of the present thematic unit is restricted to struggles of the recent Greek history, starting with the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire which, as known, occupied the Greek territory following the fall of Constantinople (in 1453). After the successful outcome of the Greek Revolution, the New Greek State gradually took form. The Greek War of Independence secured the liberation of the Peloponnese and part of mainland Greece. Then followed the annexation of Thessaly (1881), Macedonia after the Balkan Wars (1913), Thrace and the Aegean Islands (except for the Dodecanese) after the First World War (1919) and the Dodecanese after the Second World War (1947). Without doubt, the victorious battles of the Greeks on the Albanian Front (1940-41) and the coalition of Greece with the “Allies” (the winners of the war) were decisive in the enlargement of Greece after the Second World War.
We are born, we are baptized, we go to school, we work, we create, we marry, we reproduce, we celebrate, we get old and we die. This is the cycle of life whose demarcations are diverse, if not diametrically opposite, in various societies, cultures and periods of history. In the present thematic unit, our sojourn starts the cycle with the institution of marriage and closes with the event of death.
The institution of marriage, in the past and current times, occupies the largest part of digital space in the present thematic unit. It includes materials (photos and hyperlinks) from the beginnings of the 20th century up to the beginning of the 21st century.
Our Pastas, Breads and Pies
Stockbreeding and grain cultivation constitute pre-requisites for the present thematic unit, in view of the fact that milk and flour are basic ingredients for the preparation and making of pastas, breads and pies. The present unit deals with two long-duration pastas (e.g. trahana and noodles) and two short-duration (e.g. breads and pies). The preparation of trahana (trahana – sweet and sour) and noodles constituted in the past a basic pre-occupation of the agrarian families, especially the women, since the consumption of meat constituted a luxury (only at Christmas and Easter), while pastas together with vegetables and their by-products constituted for almost all Vlahokerasiotes the basic sources of food.
From the Wash-Tubs and the Fulling Mills to the Laundromats
Traditionally, the washing of clothes was done in areas close to the sources of water, like the private wells in the houses’ yards, public wells in the village, the little streams close to the village, the rivers/creeks used to irrigate the farm fields and at the water mills, which were fed by rivers with plenty of water. In cases where water from their own private well was briny and was not appropriate to create foam, the women carried water from the streams and the public wells close to their houses.
Vlahokerasiotes Wearing Traditional Dress
The apparel of a local society, like all other material and non-material contents of a culture (e.g. customs, technology, language etc.) is a reflection of multiple historical influences, is always in a state of flux, and is an indicator of the place of origin, the background and the social status of the person wearing it. In the case of Greece, of crucial importance were the influences of classical Greece, the Byzantine Period, the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Rule, the 1821 Revolution, and the Greek Orthodox Church. Naturally, every region within the country experienced differently the above influences. As a result, the outcome was different, depending upon the local, geographical, climatic, and cultural conditions.
With the term “popular arts”, we are referring to creations which generally deal with traditional subjects and include a broad spectrum of arts such as (a) handicrafts (e.g. embroidery, spinning, weaving, ceramics and the chiseling of spoons, canes and shepherd’s staffs) and (b) the artistic expression (e.g. painting, music and hagiography). Examples of handicraft have been the subject of other thematic units and of the Third Part of the Monograph Vlahokerasia: History, Demography and Folklore by Angelos Bistolas et al. (See menu category “History – Traditions”). The present thematic unit focuses on Vlahokerasiotes,who have occupied themselves with poetic expression, music and hagiography. The creators are farmers, shepherds, teachers, businesspeople, chefs, housewives and students. Amongst them are persons-residents of Greece and omogeneis/immigrants.
During its meeting on 16 August 2017, in Vlahokerasia, the Committee of the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum (VDM) decided to create a new flipping book, with the incorporation of the “Male Birth Records of Vlahokerasia” in VDM. Taking into consideration the fact that VDM already included the flipping book on “the Male Records of the Municipality of Mathyrea”, it became necessary to introduce an umbrella subcategory of content under the “History-Traditions” main-menu category that would include both of these flipping books. The new subcategory, “Birth Records”, is sufficiently inclusive to cover both the existent flipping and the new flipping booκ. At the same time, it allows the Committee to include new flipping books in the future (e.g. women’s birth records)
The existent flipping book, “Male Birth Records of the Municipality of Manthyrea”, was passed on to the former President of the “Attica Vlahokerasiotes Association” to Angelos Bistolas by omogenis Spyros Evan. Petropoulos for future utilization (The records were given to Spyros Petropoulos by his uncle Louis K. Petropoulos, who was a member of the Board of the 1st Vlahokerasiotes Association in Columbus, Ohio). It covers the period 1846-1878 and contains the birth records for four village communities which were then under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Manthyrea: Vlahokerasia, Arvanitokerasia, Zeli and Aloupohori. The Committee expresses their gratitude to Angelos for scanning and passing on these records to the V.D.M.
The “Male Birth Records of Vlahokerasia” cover a longer time-period (1837-1953) and focus exclusively on the community of Vlahokerasia. The photographing of these archives ―which after the implementation of “Kallikratis” have been transferred to Tripolis ― was done by researcher-writer Petros Sarantakis. The Committee expresses its gratitude to Petros Sarantakis, as well as to Vasiliki Lymberopoulos, an employee in the Municipal Records Department, for expediting the digitalization process. In order to facilitate navigation during the 116-year period, we have created five links on the cover page of the new flipping book. The first three links cover the period 1837-1936, the fourth link covers the second period 1937-1949, and the fifth link covers the third period 1950-1953. The three chronological periods correspond to three different records of birth, which we have merged into one flipping book.
Under the new subcategory (thematic unit), “Birth Records”, the two flipping books are posted according to alphabetic (Greek) and chronological order, with the “Male Records of Vlahokerasia” appearing first and the “Male Records of the Municipality of Manthyrea” second. At the same time, the new subcategory allows for the future inclusion of female birth records.
Nikos P. Petropoulos
VDM Committee Coordinator
11 October 2017
Press on the icons below to go to the corresponding birth registers.