Image 1: Rougkatsiarides, Niseli 1956
One of the finest traditions of Roumlouki committed until today with some variations compared with the old standard, are Rougkatsia.
This is a group of people wearing “fustanella” (rich in fabric skirt), with swords and during the twelveday roam the villages of the plain dancing, (with the sounds of clarinets and tabor every home visiting) a cycle of four consecutive dances that together called "Rougkatsiarikos." The main purpose of the celebration of the custom is the fundraising that offers the landlord of any house they visit, as support for building up a new church or the maintenance of old, often a school building in the village from which originate the dancers in the group.
The word Rougkatsia comes from the Latin word Rogatio. Thought that Rougkatsia in Roumlouki is a remnant of the Roman and Byzantine era, when soldiers entrusted with the custody of the outlying regions of the foreignness raids, toured annually countryside seeking their rent from the people they protect.
The uniform of Rougkatsia consisted of the following items: short white “foustanela” with 300 “lagkolia” (double), black vest adorned with cordons or black sleeveless “doulamas”, long black belts, baggy white pants, woolen “skoufounia”, “gourounotsaroucha” and headwear black calpac as military cap, the “Sapka” or sometimes black and sometimes colorful knitted cap.
After the liberation in 1912, as head covering used the familiar fez which was embroidered with a small cross on top.
Also necessary equipment of the outfit of Rougkatsia was silver jewelry sewn on their chest like “maglikoutaria’, the “tokades”, the “machmoudieres” and crosses.
Image 2: Rougkatsia from the village Palaioxori, 1957
The afternoon of the eve of Epiphany, the Rougkatsia should definitely return back to their village. At the entrance, all the villagers were expecting them to welcome them. One single girl then holding up her hand a handkerchief and people of Rougkatsia running, by competing who will catch it first, to acquire and to have it as a keepsake.
The Rougkatsia is one of the few old team customs that continue to be committed today at Roumlouki. They organized in the twelveday from several dance and cultural associations and despite the innovations that have been introduced, they still connect us with the past and tradition and are a further confirmation of the continuity of Hellenism.