For two hours women from Thrace, in northern Greece, will be playing tavli and other games, preparing meals and drinks, and telling jokes. They will honor the “Babo”, the traditional mother in Greek tradition.
The custom of “Gynekokratia” is very well known all over Greece. Women occupy all positions on this occassion, as a role of reversal in society.The men are occupied with housework. They wash clothes, iron and look after the children. In general they wear the housewife’s apron and are kept busy at home, which is left in a complete mess by the wives. While the husbands are busy with housework, the wives are holding a “session” at coffee shops. It is devoted to Babo, the midwife of the village, at the beginning of the new year. The tradition begins on the 8th of January. It coincides with the period of the Dodekaimeron, a carnival period for northern Greece. The period has masquerades and other celebrations wishing for a happy and fortunate year. It is performed at Rodopi: Xilagani, Proskinites, Strimi, Dioni, Krovili, Sapes, Imeros, Fanari, Roditis.
This custom will revive next Sunday evening by the Pan Thracian Union of America “Orpheus” at the Stathakeion Cultural Center of New York, in Astoria.
In the first part of the event, only women over 18-years-old are allowed. In the second part of the event, after 18:00, everyone is welcome. The traditional Agios Vasilis will offer presents to participating children. They will also cut the traditional Vasilopita New Year’s cake and the lucky one who finds the piece with the coin will win $150 in cash.