Hellenic Women’s Federation of Victoria hold annual Protomagia festival

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The Hellenic Women’s Federation of Victoria held its Protomagia Festival on Tuesday, May 7 at Maroondah Reservoir Park in Healesville. 

The festival was organised for the first time 24 years ago by Sofia Mastoris OAM.

The weather at this year’s event was absolutely divine and made the day brighter and happier. With lots of dancing and celebration, in amongst a park decorated with flowers, hundreds of people came together and celebrated a wonderful occasion. 

Hellenic Women's Federation of Victoria hold annual Protomagia festival

Women cracked red eggs and exchanged koulourakia and tsourekia in celebration of Orthodox Easter, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in and amongst nature.  

A conga line with women holding flower bouquets and baskets full of flowers was organised, with Sofia leading the procession to music supplied by DJ Joe Pappas.

Hellenic Women's Federation of Victoria hold annual Protomagia festival

The Federation also honoured the people who started the May Day 8-hour work day. The working syndicates in Chicago in 1886 went on strike and organised revolts to provide for fairer working conditions. In Greece, the day is a public holiday.

There were a few competitions and awards on the day. The winner of the best fashion / participation award was Sofia Pandelidis. The winners of the best dance awards were RITSA and Toula Sardelis.

An award was given to the person who has not missed one Protomagia event for 24 years. Vera Angelopoulos was given an award from Sofia for being in attendance on every occasion.

Hellenic Women's Federation of Victoria hold annual Protomagia festival
Hellenic Women's Federation of Victoria hold annual Protomagia festival

Twenty years ago, at the same Park, in 2004, an olive tree was planted to honour the Olympic Games that were held in Greece. On the 7th of May 2024, another olive tree was planted. The name of the 2024 tree was christened ‘Ellada’ (Ελλάδα). This olive tree will serve as a reminder of all the Protomagia events held at Maroondah Park and the major contribution of Greeks/Hellenes to Victoria.

John Pandazopoulos, Chair of Parks Victoria and former Victorian Minister, honoured the occasion with his wonderful presence and helped the Federation plant the tree. Sofia, Mary Lalios and Mr Pandazopoulos planted the tree.

Hellenic Women's Federation of Victoria hold annual Protomagia festival

A park ranger from Parks Victoria – Steve Johnstone – assisted in the planting and will ensure the tree is protected. The tree is near the dam wall in the rose garden, for anybody who would like to visit it.

“I am really happy that I was able to be here today to plant this olive tree and hand over this great event to the new President Ms Lalios, who will do a wonderful job in keeping the event alive for generations to come. The olive is a symbol of peace and is synonymous with Greeks everywhere,” Sofia said.

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