Cretan people - their activities and traditions
As a result of the geographic position of the island of Crete and its big history, the Cretans have always been subjected to a variety of influences. This is still true today if one takes into account the importance of tourism in recent years. However. the particular character of the islanders has not changed. They have always stubbornly retained a passion for independence and freedom and a deep love for their homeland. a love that has been strengthened by their struggles against the various invaders. They are warm, hospitable and friendly to strangers, optimistic, and open-hearted.
In their daily life, they simply live despite foreign influences and mod else, they retain their custom and tradnations. Especially in the villages and small towns where even today one sees men in the characteristic local "vraka" or long baggy trousers, black fringed kerchief, and high boots. The Cretans love dancing and eating. They relish feast days and holidays, wed dings, and festive gatherings which in most villages are enjoyed with the same love and high spirits as of yore.
They dance the lively local dances the "Pendozalis''. the "Chaniotiko", the"Sousta'' and others and sing the lovely ...Mantinade ". or serenades, with their eloquent rhymes. so full of meaning, and the characteristic sound of the tradition.
The population of the island is 600,000 inhabitants, who live for the most part in the larger towns of the island Heraklion - Chania - Rethymnonn Agios Nikolaos, etc. The urban population is involved in commerce and cottage industry, in the developing industrial sector, agriculture, and in the tourist industry which has played a major role during the last decade in the economic development of the island of Crete.
Several factors account for this, among which are Crete's fascinating archaeological sites mild climate, lovely beaches, and clean sea, together with the hospitality of its people and the variety of the landscape.
The infratructure of the island has been developing, and impetus has been given to the construction of a high-quality hotel and tourist complexes so that Crete today constitutes a very important tourist
center of international fame.
A fairly large percentage of the inhabitant in the rural areas are involved in agriculture and animal breeding while, in coastal areas, fishing is an important activity.
Special emphasis has been given to modernizing work methods and machinery in order to achieve the greatest possible productivity. The procesing of agricultural and dairy products and their standardization involves an important percentage of the work force.
Traditional activities are still practiced by the villagers. There are still women who have hand looms in their homes, where they weave their colorful patterns, while others embroider. producing beautiful articles in traditional design.
The age-old art of pottery is still engaged and the potters of today work their supple material rith the same dexterity and artistic sense as did their Minoan ancestors.
The grape harvest in September is an open-air fe activity for all to join in.