Koumoi

Koumoi is a small village of the prefecture of Rethymno, located on the road Rethymno-Agia Galini near Foteino, 15 km southwest of the city of Rethymno.

At an altitude of 460 meters, at the foot of Vrysinas Mountain, the Koumoi is a mountain village of 200 inhabitants, very well known for its livestock products. Its name originates in the Byzantine Koumoi, referring to a makeshift shelter built to protect small animals from predators. The village has been mentioned in censuses of the 16th century. During the Turkish occupation the village has witnessed major battles.

In Koumoi as well as its wider area, there are many churches and chapels, such as the church of Christ the Savior, the main church of the village, and the cavernous church of Agios Antonios.

One of the most important events of Koumoi is a feast of Agios Georgios, with dominating traditional elements and crowds of faithful gathering here from all over Crete. The morning liturgy is followed by the procession of the icon of Agios Georgios in the streets of the village with Georgalidian horses accompanied by youngsters in traditional costumes.

The festival culminates with the standard blessing of dairy products in the churchyard of Agios Georgios and after this a song of the Saint is performed by the rizitikos group (group performing mountain-style songs) of Koumoi. According to local tradition, all the farmers of the village offer the daily milk production, which, after being turned into cheese in the cheese-making unit of the village, is offered as graviera and mizithra (a fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goat) to the faithful along with plenty of wine, boiled meat and other delicacies.

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