First day of Pontians’ Synapantema in Melbourne full of hugs and dancing

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Pontians from all over Australia arrived on Friday evening in Melbourne, Victoria for their three day yearly meet up.

The first day of Synapantema started with ‘Parakath’ the warm welcoming from this years’ organisers, ‘Akrites of Pontos’ in Victoria. Hugs, kisses, lots of emotions and of course, hours of Pontian music and dancing from Pontians of all different ages, created a festive atmosphere.

On the stage, young Pontians, with their music skills and beloved sound of the lyra, urged those present to stand up and dance.

Haris Tsairis, the young president of ‘Akrites of Pontos,’ said to The Greek Herald: “Synapantema is one of the biggest festivals in Melbourne, maybe in Australia too. This is what draw me to get involved with the Pontian topics, for the first time. I went to a Synapantema, I saw all the youth together, we danced, we sang, we drunk, and never left it.”

After his warm welcome to the Pontians of all different states, the music began. One of the singers of the night, Kostas, told us that the Pontian youth community is very strong.

“Synapantema is done every year. It’s a chance for every Pontian of Australia to come to a place and have fun. It is important because it brings all the youth of Pontian culture to meet together and dance,” he says.

Peter Stefanidis, President of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia, said: “Synapantema is not only about bringing the youth together and having fun. As an organisation we have the need to create the next leaders. To do this we have to bring them together, and them to work close with each other.”

Synapantema, an idea that was born 20 years ago, started as a small dance on a Saturday night.

“It had 80 adults and 20 young people,” Peter recalls. From that point it has grown spectacularly with its budget getting higher every year. He says that it was the youth who were constantly asking him for the Synapantema to take place.

This is also what Maria Anthony, Pontoxeniteas NSW President, highlights as the biggest benefit – the youth.

“What is important is our youth, the next generation. If we don’t have these national events then we don’t get to know each other. They have the opportunity to meet and have a weekend of just Pontian music,” she says.

“It’s the only time they can have a whole weekend with Pontian music only. We keep them engaged wanting to learn about their history and their music and through dancing they can learn the Pontian language. They sing as they dance.”

President of the Pontian Brotherhood of South Australia, Nazareth Nalpantidis Chisholm, shared her excitement for the fact that after three years, Pontians are getting together.

“This is where we are able to see the rest of our family, the Pontians and to enjoy ourselves and come together,” she says.

Synapantema brings an energy and a fight for the Pontians to keep going and keep the youth close to continue the legacy in the future. 

“Knowledge comes with music and dance,” Nazareth adds. “And that’s where we also struggle. We need new people to come to know this. To want to engage with musical instruments such as the lyra so they can keep on playing them.”

*All photos copyright The Greek Herald /Giorgos Psomiadis.

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