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Did you know?: Customs
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People often hang clothes, handkerchiefs or threads as votive offerings from branches of trees that are close to some church.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ancient customs survive to the present day

Throughout Greece

Nowadays, we consider ancient beliefs somewhat outdated. Nevertheless, in our times we encounter many surviving elements from customs dating back to antiquity.

One such example is the hanging of clothes, handkerchiefs and threads, known as tzatzala, on the branches of trees and on bushes. These tzatzala are votive offerings from believers usually seeking to be healed. These trees and bushes are often close to churches. For example, in Lesbos there are two churches with healing properties, called “Ai-Tharapis Tzatzaliares” [Saint Therapes / Healer of the Tzatzala] and “Ai-Yannis o Tzatzaliares” [Saint John of the Tzatzala]”.

In ancient Greece it was usual to hang pieces of fabric and rags from the clothes of the sick on wooden effigies or holy statues for healing purposes.

Another example is that of the relic of Saint John the Russian, whose face was recently covered with a golden mask like the ones used in ancient Mycenaean burials. These masks retain the features of the deceased for all time with a precious metal, whose value symbolizes that of the dead man or woman.