ViIllage on the Greek island of Karpathos. ViIllage on the Greek island of Karpathos.

Kanakara is a Greek term from the island of Karpathos and refers to the first born girl in a family. The male equivalent is a kanakaris. Until the mid-twentieth century, the island of Karpathos in the southeastern part of the Aegean Sea had a local inheritance tradition and law that meant that first born sons and daughters were treated differently from their younger siblings.

In particular, first born girls were referred to in a different way. They would wear particular, elaborate forms of clothing and accessories and were destined to inherit everything from their mothers, including clothing, textiles and embroideries. In addition, first born girls were expected to have ‘white hands', namely they were responsible for light household jobs such as sewing and embroidery, while their younger sisters carried out the harder household and agricultural tasks. The tradition of the kanakara/kanakaris disappeared after 1948, when the island officially became part of Greece.

Source: The Greek Folk Art Museum (Mouseio Ellinikis Laikis Technis), Kydathineon 17, Plaka, Athens, Greece.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 1st July 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 01 May 2017 14:29
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