The Attica Gaia Festival 2023 ,New Thesmoforia, a celebration of the land of Attica, a meeting point where culture, tourism and the primary sector converge, is being held in Attica, by the Development Organization “New Metropolitan Attica”, on the initiative of the Region of Attica and under the auspices of the Hellenic Tourism Organization.
From 16th to 24th September 2023, a new, pioneering festival for the promotion of the land of Attica is presented to the public. The Attica Gaia Festival, New Thesmoforia, is a complex project, an initiative of the Region of Attica, organized by the Development Agency “New Metropolitan Attica S.A.” Attica DMMO, under the auspices of the Hellenic Tourism Organisation, realising the proposal of the President of the HTO, Ms Angela Gerekou and Dr. Aikaterini Polymerou – Kamilaki, Director of the Folklore Centre of the Athens Academy, for an event dedicated to the celebration of Attica – its history, culture, nature and unique products
This festival has its roots in the ancient Thesmoforia, a celebration that honoured Demeter – the goddess of soil and vegetation said to safeguard both the fertility of the land and of women. The goddess Demeter inspired the Athenians to begin cultivating the land, thus laying the foundations for an organised society with institutions (“thesmoi” in greek), explaining why she is called “Themoforos” Demeter. The current modern celebration highlights the products that have thrived in this land over time: cereals patronized by the goddess Demeter; olives and olive oil looked after by the goddess Athena and, of course, vinyards and wine in the loving care of god Dionysus. Economic pillars of the Athenian State, these products throughout history have been inextricably linked with religion and culture, and to this day form part of the backbone of the national economy, symbols of the productive identity of Greece.
With the conceptual starting point of the promotion of the New Thesmoforia, and its ties with folk custom of Polysporia in Elefsina, the Attica Gaia Festival 2023 is all about forging an essential “meeting point” between the land of Attica and its products, its natural environment and ecology, its history and rich cultural heritage , aiming to highlight the interconnection of the historical land of Attica and the cultural element with agri-food, the products of the region and the dimension of tourism.
Spread across popular venues in Attica, such as Attiko Grove, Antonis Tritsis Park, Alimos ( the Athenian Riviera), Kerameikos, Keratsini – Drapetsona Fertilizers Multifunctional Park and Event Venue and Pedion tou Areos Park, the festival includes cultural activities, educational workshops and experiential educational initiatives of an environmental and agri-food nature, actions to promote nature, the natural environment and the metropolitan green spaces of Attica, as well as extroversion and product promotion programmes with modern strategies.
The regional Director of Attica, George Patoulis said: “The Region of Attica, in cooperation with the Greek National Tourism Organization and with the valuable expertise of its Development Organization, New Metropolitan Attica S.A., has the great pleasure of organizing the New Thesmoforia Forums. With an emphasis on extroversion, the event links the primary production sector with culture and tourism, highlights the products, potential and culture of Attica and is a pioneering initiative aimed at further enhancing the extroversion of Attica’s products, thus constituting a valuable legacy”.
The President of the Hellenic Tourism Organization, Angela Gerekou said: “Inspired by Greek history and tradition, the Hellenic Tourism Organization brings the celebration of the land of Attica, the Thesmoforia, to the present day. A festival that celebrates fertility, woman, fruitfulness and the products of the Athenian state unique in quality and cultural significance. It is a celebration of the power of culture, the authenticity of our local communities and our premier local products, all of which is what the modern, socially and environmentally conscious traveler seeks from a destination. These are also the pillars for a sustainable, viable tourism development model that respects the environment, culture and the quality of life of local residents.”
The President of the Development Organization “New Metropolitan Attica S.A.” Nikos Papageorgiou said: “New Metropolitan Attica S.A. embraces the Gaia Attica Festival, New Thesmoforia, as an important initiative to connect and promote key elements of Attica, such as culture, tourism and the production of local products. With its know-how and experience, the Organization ensures an excellent standard and versatility in the implementation of challenging and multi-faceted initiatives such as this one, following through on good ideas from theory to reality”.
Within the framework of the festival, from 16th to 24th September, 7 unique events will take place sharing the common theme of the culture and the fertile land of Attica. These consist of educational and experiential workshops at the Antonis Tritsis Metropolitan Park; traditional dances at the Drapetsona Fertilizers Multfunctional Park and Event Venue in the Municipality of Keratsini-Drapetsona; theatrical performances at the “Katina Paxinou” Theatre of the Attica Grove, culinary events at Drapetsona Fertilizers Multifunctional Event Venue involving traditional flavours and modern mixologist tasting experiences at MoMix Bar, both of which are aiming to highlight the culinary wealth of Attica.
PROGRAM OF EVENTS
Sunday 17th September: “Thesmoforia Dance: Αn Ode to Earth”
At the opening of the festival, the original play “Thesmoforia Dance: Αn Ode to Earth” is presented at the Attica Park Theatre, “Katina Paxinou”, with over 30 performers. It gives the audience an engaging symphonic audiovisual experience under the direction of George Voukanos. A unique musical triptych, it unites myth and folk tradition with the future and the need to care for nature and the wealth that must be preserved for the generations to come. Vassilis Saleas takes on the role of musical narrator, with the uniquely Greek sound of his clarinet guiding us mellifluously from one era to the next and leading us with hope into tomorrow. He is ably supported by the Melody Chamber Orchestra, the ancient Greek instrumental ensemble, Lyraylos, and the women’s GraduArti Arsakion Alumni Choir taught by Christina Varsami-Koukni.
Saturday 16th to Sunday 24th September: Experiential Educational Workshops
From Saturday 16th until Sunday 24th at the Centre of the Earth – Antonis Tritsis Park, young and old will have the opportunity to participate in experiential educational workshops, in collaboration with the NGO “Organization Earth” and on the topics of sustainability of the agri-food sector, addressing climate change and reinforcing children’s environmental awareness.
Tuesday 19th September: Scientific Workshop – New Thesmoforia
A one-day conference on “Attica’s land and its products: environment and climate crisis, perspectives” will be held in the building of the Old Parliament. The scientific workshop, under the guidance of Dr. Aikaterini Polymerou – Kamilaki, Director of the Centre for Folklore of the Academy of Athens, will focus on the analysis of primary production and the peri-urban environment of Attica, highlighting the region’s products and the prospects and challenges ahead for its peri-urban development.
Wednesday 20th September: Tradition & Attica Land
A music and dance event combining folk tradition and gastronomy entitled “Tradition & Attica Land” takes place at the Drapetsona Fertilizers Multifunctional Event Venue of the Municipality of Keratsini – Drapetsona. Local cultural associations, such as the Women’s Association of Crete and the Aegean Islands, the Cretan Association of Keratsini – Drapetsona “Arkadi”, the Cretan Brotherhood of Piraeus – “Omonia”, the Cretan Association of Nikaia – Korydallos, the Epirus Association of Piraeus,the Chrysalis Group, the Federation of Associations of Small Cycladic Islands, the Cretan Dance Association Aperaioi, meet up in a celebratory way to promote what are perhaps the less tangible aspects of Greek cultural heritage and tradition. The protagonists are top virtuoso musicians of our folk tradition who will play a wide range of musical instruments. The traditional dances will be accompanied by a gastronomic event put on by the Chefs’ Club Acropolis team coordinated by the renowned chef Konstantinos Mouzakis.
Thursday 21st September: Greek Breakfast of Attica Land
In cooperation with the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, at Ble Pavillon in Alimos, the experience of the “Greek breakfast” is presented to journalists and professionals of tourism and gastronomy. This is the brainchild of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels of Greece, which aims to connect the country’s gastronomic wealth with the visitor’s experience and promote the gastronomic heritage through a programme designed to highlight products from each region. The event is based on the experience of discovering the “secret of longevity”, the Greek breakfast, which starts as you enter the venue and continues throughout the event. The Greek Breakfast – Attica Earth presentation experience includes beverages; standard and certified products from producers in Attica; herbs and superfoods; cool refreshments with Greek fruits, tea and decoction; the secrets of preparing Greek coffee in the hovoli; cocktails of sparkling wine with selected fruits; live cooking and, of course, presentation of the value of the Greek breakfast and reference to recipes and products that enhance well-being, energy and balanced nutrition.
Saturday 23rd September: Physis Gaia Project event with Eurydiki
The “Physis Gaia Project” event takes place at the Pedion tou Areos Park. A theatrical, musical and entertaining narrative, set in a green haven in the city centre, which through the combination of sounds, images and lighting, makes an enchanting prospect for attendees. Evridiki, accompanied by Ada Athanasopoulou and young musicians, performs a modern and dynamic setlist with songs from all over Greece and the world. In the first part, a multi-thematic theatrical narrative is presented by Vassilis Michas and Chrysa Roma, accompanied by Camerata Junior with the participation of over 25 young musicians. Its title is “The Mythical Melodies of the Rivers – The Journey of the Ilisos” and its purpose is to guide us through the long history of the Ilisos, which in ancient times was considered a sacred river where the muses lived. A party with a DJ set follows the concert to bid farewell to summer at the autumn equinox.
Sunday 24th September: Attica Molecular Mixology
At MoMix Bar in Kerameikos, experts in gastronomy, pastry making and bartending will have the opportunity to participate in an original mixologist event with the creation of original molecular cocktails designed exclusively from products of Attica Earth, in combination with special menus. With plenty of artistic prowess and versatility on show; the use of techniques such as spherification, gelation and steaming; food additives to elevate the products of Attica and dry ice as a magical finishing touch to your cocktail, an unprecedented taste experience is definitely in store.
GAIA FESTIVAL OF ATTICA 2023 | NEW THESMOFORIA
The meeting point of culture, tourism and Attica Earth.
New Metropolitan Attica
Tel: 210 9213946