As in whole Greece, hence and in Hydra, the island's folkways are of great interest to the tourists and the local people.
New Years Eve
At New Year's Eve the doors of the houses stay opened for the welcoming of the visitors. The house owner hangs a ribbon to the quest's neck and invites him for supper.
Epiphany in Hydra
Sanctification in Hydra island, at the old days, took place on the eve of Epiphany, in order to expel the goblins. All housewives of Hydra, at the eve of Epiphany, went to the Church and after the end of the Liturgy, with pitcher transported the holy water on their homes, and then sanctified every corner of their home, as the cisterns and their wells.
The rest of the holy water were stored in the icon for the rest of the year. Also on Epiphany Eve all the priests of the parishes of Hydra hallow homes, shops and boats of parishioners.
The day of the Epiphany, after the end of the sequence of the Great Sanctification was formed great procession with hymns and prayers, which was directed through the old neighborhoods of Hydra - Kiafas-Gkourmadas - until the Square Kalon Pigadionn, where the priests of the island had the blessing of the two wells.
Near the noon, the procession reached the northern breakwater of the harbor through the main street of Andrea Maiouli, so the Cross tied with ribbon, fell to the sea from the hands of the bishop, to sanctify the waters. Despot chanting "En Jordan ..." and threw the cross into the sea, freeing from his hands three pigeons.
Then they all returned back at the Church to pray for a good year and for their health. The children, who fell to the sea to catch the Cross, they took it and went with it around the shops. The consecration of the waters was also being done by the parishioners of the Church of St. John the Baptist in the harbor of Kamini Kamini since 1963.
The Epitaph in Kaminia and in Hydra in general
One of the most beautiful and most picturesque Hydra customs is the immersion of the Epitaph in the sea, on Good Friday evening, in Kamini beach.
On this particular day the Epitaph, after its walking into the district, is being immersed into the waters by people who support it for the purpose of sunctifing the waters. With this custom they believe the sailor will return fro their journey safe.
The custom was for the first time started in Kaminia during the year 1923 and since then the custom is repeated every year, according to tradition. The custom started by sponge divers of Kaminia whose sponge boats departed after the Sunday of the Holy Cross and returned close to the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
The spectacle is magnificent, spectacular and every Good Friday followed by faith and reverently by all the parishioners and many foreigners come Kamini to watch especially this custom. The procession of the Epitaph at Kaminia is being done earlier than what of the rest of the Main place, to enable visitors to see all the customs.
In the town of Hydra, after the pieta, the bells tolls. First does the big bell of the convent bells, followed by the remaining parishes of St. Barbara, the Visitation and St. Demetrius. All Epitaphs gather at the north entrance of the Holy Dormition Monastery, Square P. Kountouriotis followed the procession of Epitaphs through the cobbled streets of the town of Hydra.
The Resurrection and Easter in Hydra
The Resurrection is being done in an atmosphere full of faith by the candlelights, in all churches of the island, and ends with the traditional roasting spit.
All parishes of Hydra had the custom of burning Judas, from old times, at the eve of Easter Sunday. The competition between parishes was great and indeed, during thr Holy Week, churches gouged tray to cover the expenses for the custom.
The preparation for the construction of Judah began long before the start of the Holy Week. They made the large doll as a real man, with the correct size and dress him up with Jewish clothes. Inside the doll put straws.
The doll's left hand made straight and into a fist, except from a finger from where they hung a purse with the 30 silver coins of the betrayal.
Very famous in Hydra is the annual Carnival where tourists and local people can take part and enjoy. The festival is going around all the paths of the main city of Hydra and it ends at the port with fireworks, as entertainment continues all the night.
The start of the Carnival in Hydra signaled in past years, the day of commemoration of St. Anthony the Great in the 17th of January. On this day, in all the neighborhoods of Hydra, the carnival people began to beat drums and drums, announcing the joyful message of Halloween.
Today, the carnival are gathered in the square of Admiral Votsi and then climb the stairs of the road Anthony Lygnou. After the Mansion of Sahtouris, they turn right and arrive at Hillary's pit, where they make their first stop. There, they dance with island songs and with the accompaniment of treats.
Then, via the route Anthony Kriezis leading Kamini and bypassing the route at the height of the Church of the Virgin, directed toward pit Tzathas or Bampori. Moving to position Petalidiza, near the Church of St. Barbara, turning west and heading for the port of Kamini.
Passing the river end of Kaminion, they end at the Lakka of Kokoris, and make the second stop with treats and dances. After the second stop, the carnival is directed towards the Church of the Ascension and follow the road up the tower leading to Lakka Gavrili for the third and final stop of the procession of the carnival.
Then the carnival from the pit Gavrili descends to the street of Anthony Lignou to reach again the square of Admiral Votsi and from there the carnival parade, with drums and Drums, goes to beach of Hydra, where the dance and songs are.
In the end, the carnival, after the beach of Hydra, passes the route of George Sachtouri and ends at the tavern "Xeri Elia" where it hangs. Followed by dancing and feasting on traditional food and good wine.
The traditional Hydraian wedding
Another custom is the traditional Wedding that takes place in Hydra. It starts with the traditional making of the bed, in which friends and relatives of the married-to-be throw on to the sheets money.
The eve before the wedding the future bride is being shampooed and combed from other married women. Often the bride does not wear a wedding dress, but the traditional clothing of Hydra.
After the wedding was customary to be held a wedding feast, with the accompany of music from traditional musical organs,in honour of the married couple.
The Betrothal in the old Hydra
In the old times, people in Hydra were betrothed in a very young age, from 14 for the girls and 18 the boys. If you were older and not betrothed then the village used to taunt you.
Your father or brothers if you had no father, had to pay for the wedding and if a woman was an only child and fatherless, then her mother had to take care of the wedding expenses.
A brother and especially the oldest one, had to wait until his sister to get married, and then get married himself. That thing has been honourable and you gained a lot of respect from the other village people.
Then there were the presents. From the father and brothers of the soon to be bride to the family of the groom and of course vise versa. Presents from rings and golds and golden coins.
After this exchancing of presents there was a dinner with all the family members, of the grooms and the bride's, accompanied with music and singing. The betrothal didn't last long because the couple had to get married. There were a lot of visiting from the bride to the groom's family, bringing presents and vise versa, until the final day of the wedding. This was being done in order for the couple to get to know the other's family.