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The inhabitants (1)
The dirge in Mani
The dirge in Mani is a kind of folk song and popular poetry which
is not met anywhere else in Greece. The dirge of Inside Mani has an eight-syllable
metre while the one of Outside Mani has a fifteen-syllable metre and are sung
during funerals and masses. Men do not participate in the «clama» (=mourning ,
crying) as the dirge is called so that they won’t show their sensitivity while
the women mourn the dead person hierarchically. When it is a man being mourned,
the «clama» starts from the mother, then the sister, the daughter and finally
ends at the wife.
Being mourned by individuals outside the family is also an honour
for the family of the dead person. In Mani, the women who sing dirges, and at
the moment of singing, are in a psychological state of ecstacy and speak in verse
using characterizations and comments on the dead person’s life and social activities.
A good dirge singer is thought of very highly in the local community and everybody
respects and admires her, while, when she is at a «clama», everyone hangs on her
every word to listen to what she has to say. The people present learn and remember
the best dirges, and sing those in various moments of their lives, creating the
«tragoudomirologia» (=song-dirges), from which the saddest words have been removed.
This extract is cited March 2003 from the Messenia Prefecture Tourism Promotion Commission URL below.
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