There’s a few of things that are iconic to Cyprus: halloumi, sheftalia and the blue sea. Though something that grasps the essence of rural life on the island are donkeys, historically one of the main means of transport in addition to being beasts of burden, especially for food, oil and wine. How many times have you seen a postcard of a grandmother dressed in black next to a donkey in some village?
So, to honour the animal and local tradition, the Golden Donkeys Farm was created in Skarinou, Larnaca, where roughly 170 donkeys can be found, each with a name and its own personality. There’s lots happening at the farm. Milking, done in a special designed space, in accordance with the requirements of the EU, a donkey safari that includes riding and visiting the oldest olive tree in Cyprus, and especially designed school and family excursions.
But a donkey farm wouldn’t be complete without donkey milk so the Skarinou farms sells that to in addition to cosmetics, olive oil and alcoholic drinks. If the idea of donkey milk doesn’t excite you, there are surprisingly plenty of benefits to it. Its fat content is much lower than cow’s milk, while the content of vitamin C is 60 times greater. It also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D and E and is a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, zinc and glycerol immunoglobulins.
Besides being compared to breast milk, it’s also said to have therapeutic and anti-ageing properties. No wonder Cleopatra bathed in donkey milk to preserve her beauty. But to discover more about the farm and get closer to the donkeys, the site will hose the Donkeys of May Festival on Sunday.
The whole day is dedicated to the animals with a bunch of activities organised. Perhaps one of the most unique is to become a Godfather to a baby donkey, after of course you name it. There will be donkey riding for children and even a decoration competition. Decorate one of the donkeys and win the award. But come prepared, the organisers suggest to bring along flowers, hats and other things for decoration.
Donkey milk products will be on sale, kids can get their faces painted and traditional folklore dancing group Perkallos will put on a performance. As with many events in Cyprus, food will be offered with a Cypriot buffet.
Donkeys of May Festival
Whole day dedicated to donkeys with games, a competition, music and a buffet. May 12. Golden Donkey’s Farm, Skarinou, Larnaca. 11am-7pm. Tel: 7000-0620