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Larnaca’s Kataklysmos Fair on UNESCO list of intangible heritage

Kataklysmos in Larnaca

The Kataklysmos (Flood) Fair, celebrated once a year in Larnaca, has been inscribed on the UNESCO national list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The inclusion of Kataklysmos, a religious and folklore festival, on the UNESCO list underlines the historic and cultural importance of the feast, and highlights its ties with the town of Larnaca, the town’s municipality said.

The inclusion in this list opens up great opportunities, the municipality said, which could eventually lead to the inclusion of Kataklysmos on the UNESCO international list, as was the case in 2012 with ‘tsiattista’, a folklore poetic duelling composed in the Greek Cypriot dialect. The Kataklysmos festival has been instrumental in the safeguarding and survival of tsiattista tradition, since it constitutes the most important occasion for tsiattista performers to meet, create and compete.

Many researchers, including Ambroise F Didot in 1816 and Athanassios Sakellarios in 1855, have referred to Kataklysmos, while Giakomo Cirilli and Kyriakos Hadjioannou consider the feast as a Christian evolution of the Cypriot spring celebrations for Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Beauty.

Other researchers, like Konstantinos Yiaggoulis and Konstantinos Spyridakis link Kataklysmos with celebrations in honour of the Adonis figure in Greek Mythology, while Maria Paraskevopoulou, based on references of Magda Ohnefalsch-Richter, links the feast with the biblical flood and Noah’s Ark.

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