Agio Pnevma

A special custom of Volakas is the feast of Agio Pnevma (Holy Spirit), which includes horse racing, votive offerings and a traditional soup.

Dakhare (tambourine), kourbani (baby goat soup), synortzides (young people on horsebacks), words that one must know in order to understand how the custom of the Holy Spirit unfolds. All the villagers gather, cook, ride their horses and leave voting offering, proving that collectivity remains a powerful adhesive in small communities.

In the past, young people, known as "synortzides", were divided into two groups and rode their horses around the village sprinkling holy water - "not only for the health of humans, but also for nature and animals" - and ended up at the chapel of the Holy Spirit on Mount Falakro.

Today, the custom takes place with slight variations. The riders start from the church of Profitis Elias (Prophet Elijah) in Volakas and proceed to the church of the Holy Spirit, holding alternately the icon of the Holy Trinity, as "it is an honor for someone to carry it". In the chapel, the priest, along with the rest of the inhabitants, waits to bless the water and perform other rituals, and then they all eat kourbani, that is, a soup with baby goat meat and herbs.

What is most interesting about the kourbani is that the goats used to cook it are offered as a sacrifice in order to fulfill an old and unforgotten pledge. They are donated by the stock breeders of Volakas (also by the municipality, due to the large turnout of people), slaughtered and cooked on the night of the feast eve in the church of the Holy Spirit and their sacrifice symbolizes the wish of the people of Volakas for good health. After this special feast, there is dancing and music with a gaida (bagpipe) and dakhare (big tambourine). The riders return to the village where horse races take place. In recent years, riders have reached the number of 120-130.