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Greece submits Pre-Christian blessing custom to UNESCO

The Culture Ministry has submitted a request to UNESCO to inscribe a traditional Greek custom blessing the bounty of the land on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list, it announced on Thursday.

Polysporia is an ancient custom practiced across many parts of the country until the very late 19th century, with the last traces to be found in the western Attica city of Elefsina – an EU Cultural Capital for 2023 – and specifically at the Church of Panagia Mesosporitissa.

The custom, believed to demonstrate how early Christians continued to worship the ancient gods by associating the Virgin Mary with Demeter, goddess of the harvest and agriculture, was revived in Elefsina in 2014 by local cultural association Adrachti and has gained popularity since.

Timed to coincide with the middle of the sowing season, the blessing custom involves outdoor prayers and the distribution of a dish of boiled grains, beans and seeds.

Pictures: Greek Culture Ministry

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