Mostra is a special custom dating back to Medieval period when pirates dominated the Aegean Sea and terrorized the villagers. Chios often faced attacks from pirates and during a Cheesefare Friday, after completion of mastic harvest period, villagers of Thymiana (7km to the south of Chios city) were celebrating the Carnival when they were informed about pirates approaching the island. The villagers decided to lark at “Stenakas” spot and rise against the pirates. A big fight took place and the result was a stunning victory of the villagers, leading to the crucifixion of the pirates at the central square of Thymiana, in order for everyone to admire their accomplishment.
Mostra revives in Thymiana village of Chios every year during the Carnival celebration. Villagers of Thymiana make a representation of this battle and the hanging of the prisoners. This feast takes place on the last Friday night and on the morning of the last Sunday of Triodio. On Friday evening the young villagers (“koudounatoi”) wear old clothes and handcrafted masks (“moutsounaries”), spreading joy and fun while walking in the village and teasing everyone. On the last Sunday of Carnival celebration, the attendees of Mostra go to the mass at Agios Dimitrios and Agios Ioannis churches of Thymiana and then they pay their respects to the dead visiting the graveyard of the village. Afterwards they end up in the central square and they dance the famous “Talimi”, accompanied by musical instruments.
The “Talimi” is a traditional dance that represents the battle of the villagers (“vrakades”) with the pirates (“koudounatoi”). When this dance is completed, another traditional dance called “Detos” will take place in which the dancers will dance in a circle holding each other by the shoulders. Then, with the accompaniment of the instruments, everyone will go to the church of Agios Eustratios and will hang banners and flags on the church’s rails. After the battle and the end of the traditional customs the carnival will start with the King of the Carnival and floats to satirize the everyday life of Greek citizens. A traditional festival in “Karouli” Square including live music, food and drinks will complete this beautiful custom.
Mostra is the largest Carnival of North Aegean Sea and at the same time it is an old tradition that unites visitors and locals until this day.