The Kagkelari of Rodavgi – Arta, Epirus
The traditional dance “Kagkelari”, which is part of the Panigiri (πανηγύρι) Festival of Saint Paraskevi, has always been the highlight and the most important moment of the annual cycle of the social life of the people of the village of Rodavgi, Arta, Epirus.
This cultural expression, “Kagkelari”, which has its origins deep in the past, takes place twice a year in the village of Rodavgi. The first performance of the dance takes place on the Tuesday after Easter Sunday, and the second performance takes place on the day after the feast day of Saint Paraskevi, specifically on 27th July.
Local oral tradition has it that this dance is connected to the need for secret communication between Greeks during the Ottoman conquest. During the dance the dancers form circles and arches, and when they came close to each other they would convey clandestine messages. It is also believed that it was a good chance for matchmaking.
The “Kagkelari” of Rodavgi has been danced in different forms in many other villages of the area, and it is considered that it is related to the ancient Greek dithyramb dance as it is always performed during religious days (when the main saint of an area is celebrated), and it contains dramatic elements, too.
The “Kagkelari” is organised by the villagers and the Cultural Club οf Rodavgi, “Saint Paraskevi – Agia Paraskevi”. Our Panigiri with the traditional dance “Κagkelari” is a unique experience you should not miss during your holidays in our area of Arta, Epirus. It’s a blending of a religious ceremony and a social festival you will always carry in your heart and soul.