Traditions in Greece have a way of surviving despite the country's modernization in the last decades. Up north, in the region between Thessaloniki and Serres, a very particular custom lives to this day: the Anastenaria. A fire-walking ritual performed outdoors in honor of the saints Constantine and Eleni in springtime, but also indoors, for the festival of saint Athanassios in January.
The custom in the village of Aghia Eleni, was brought over by Greek refugees from the village Kosti in south-east Bulgaria, following the population's persecutions in the wake of the Balkan Wars of 1911-1912. The local people’s hospitality and love of this mystical tradition make this ritual an attraction that draws visitors from all over Greece. The holy icons’ miraculous properties empower the initiates to dance through the fire having their faith keep them safe from harm
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