Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Greek Fall Celebration - Chestnut Festival of Elos

There's no denying that we Greeks love our festivals so it's no surprise that Greece has a few fall festivals of their own. Family, food and fun...almost the motto of our Greek traditions! The most curious celebrates something American's sing about every Christmas season in the phrase 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire.' In Elos, the chestnut takes a more prominent place among their traditions.

The Chestnut Festival of Elos takes place in Kastanitsa, one of the few remaining traditional Greek settlements that still boasts the sights, sounds and aromas of yesteryear. Every autumn the village dons its finest and prepares to welcome hundreds of visitors from near and far.

The village of Elos is surrounded by chestnut trees, providing picturesque scenery and an annual harvest of big, gorgeous chestnuts. To mark the coming of autumn and the chestnut harvest, local villagers devote special attention to the annual Chestnut Festival. This tradition gives the people of Elos a chance to show off its beloved chestnut and attract a crowd over the weekend. Visitors to the Chestnut Festival can enjoy witnessing and participating in some traditional local entertainment, including drinking, eating, music, dancing and of course indulging in the pleasures, both sweet and sour, produced by roasting the chestnuts.

The chestnut, unlike other nuts, is low in fat and calories, but is rich in starch, which makes it a great source of carbohydrates. In fact, in many African and Asian countries, the chestnut is used as a substitute for the potato. It is also an excellent source of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. What’s more, thanks to its sweet taste, it can satisfy those winter cravings…without the fat and the calories. Definitely something worth singing about!

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