Ancient harmonies from a song in an archaic language, sweet and bitter sounds of a tradition handed down the generations verbally for as long as people can remember: the Canto della Passione echoes during Holy Week in the streets of the Griki villages of Terra d'Otranto.
The Greek Salento area has maintained a vast heritage of words, customs and traditions that hint at the South Balkan area in origin, taste, mannerisms, music and rhythm. It is a fantastic year-round destination, with rituals, traditions, patronal festivals, musical events, tasting routes and slow-paced walks in the urban and rural landscape.
The author of the ancient religious song in the Greek-Sosalentine language is still unknown. For 12 days, from the fifth Sunday of Lent until Holy Thursday, singers revive the ancient ritual, singing the story of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ in quartets, accompanied by the mournful sound of the accordion. The last verses extend good wishes to the listeners, inviting them to offer coins or gifts to the singers.
Various versions of the Canto are known in the municipalities of Salento Greece, confirming the popularity of this tradition handed down mainly in oral form.
The heartfelt narration of the Passion has always sparked the lively interest and moving participation of listeners, and even today, when some of the few remaining singers revive the ancient song, it recreates the magical atmosphere that for centuries has spiritually prepared the people of Grecìa Salentina for Easter.