By Evie Andreou
Athienou Mayor, Kyriacos Kareklas on Tuesday congratulated the producers of the local loukoumi, a traditional sweet given at weddings, for their high standards and for seeing their product registered on the Unesco National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The renowned Athienou loukoumi, is a very popular sweet preferred by many couples all over Cyprus as a treat for their wedding guests.
Kareklas, in an announcement, thanked the Cypriot national Unesco committee and the education ministry’s cultural services for registering the Athienou wedding loukoumi to the Unesco National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
He also congratulated the producers of the traditional wedding sweet, “for the excellent and high quality of production” which allowed the Municipality of Athienou to propose it for inclusion in the Unesco list.
The mayor gave reassurances that the local authority would continue to propose other elements of the Athienou intangible cultural heritage to be registered as such citing the “many excellent Athienou products.”
The almond filled Athienou loukoumi, that resembles the kourabiedhes usually served on Christmas, are made with semolina, butter and sugar and are covered with icing sugar.
This is the forth element of Athienou culture that has made it into the Unesco National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Last year, the community’s bread making tradition and the fair at Ayios Fokas were included in the same list, joining Athienou Lace, known as ‘oloplouma’, that had also been recognised as part of the town’s unique heritage.
Athienou has a rich wheat growing and bread-making history and is famous for its traditional bread known as ‘Athienitiko’.
Ayios Fokas is the patron saint of Athienou. A fair has been organised in his honour each September since 1887, when the church dedicated to the saint was inaugurated in Athienou. The fair takes place each year on September 21 and 22.
The Kallinikio museum of Athienou also assists in the research and preparation of applications for the registration of the area’s traditional elements to the intangible cultural heritage list.