The flying of the lantern: a rare custom revives in Agiasos

A big festival takes place every year during the three-day Holy Spirit in Agiasos, Greece. Folk and traditional music groups of the island play until morning in the cafes of Kampudi and Stavros. On the eve, after the ceremony of the evening held in the Holy Church of Agia Triada, follows the flying of the lantern, which is repeated in the afternoon of the same day

The lantern of Agia Triada

A favorite sight of young and old, the lighting of heavenly lanterns has now been established in different parts of the world and is associate with both celebrations and local traditions, as well as more daily celebrations, such as weddings or birthdays.

In Agiasos the flying of the lantern is associate with the feast of Agia Triada on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Church of Agia Triada is located in the area “Kaboudi” at the top entrance of Agiasos. The second large temple of the village. 

It was built in 1870 and is a faithful copy of the church of Panagia and the other basilicas of the 18th century of Lesvos. Celebrates the Monday of the Holy Spirit.

A rare custom is revive every year at the festival of Agia Triada in Agiasos. Flying the lantern! As stated in his book “Legend and History of Agiasos of the island of Lesvos” (p. 895) Stratis Pan. Kolaxizelis, in the last years of the Turkish occupation, the teacher and chanter Dimitrios Christofides constructed the first large paper sphere, inflated it with warm smoke holding its circular orifice over a hot haystack, and in the middle of the orifice tied a small sponge to the wire. 

When he saw that the ball was rising, he watere the sponge with alcohol. Which he lit to produce new warm smoke, in place of the outgoing one, and kept swinging the ball longer.  He raised her in the courtyard of the church of Agia Triada on the day of the feast of the Holy Spirit to the great enthusiasm of the crowd. Who called her a “flashlight” (The flashlight of Christofides).

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In Greece, the custom seems to have its beginnings somewhere in the 19th century. When in Leonidio Arcadia began the tradition of releasing heavenly lanterns over the sea every Easter night of the Resurrection.  In Volos on the eve of the New Year thousands of lanterns rise in the sky sending their Christmas wish. While contributing to the fulfillment of charitable purposes. In Skala Marion Thassos they throw the lantern at the Christmas feast of wishes. Lanterns fly to other parts of Greece, but not to the feast of Agia Triada.

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