Last Sunday, 16 May, the Castellorizian Club of SA welcomed members and friends at their first function since December 2019, with guest speaker author of the book “Kastellorizian Jewellery” Nick Bogiatzis.
Bogiatzis, also a researcher and collector who flew from Canberra specifically for the event, talked briefly about the history of Kastellorizo and expanded on how jewellery and clothing define a culture and its people.
The attendees had the chance to learn more about their family heirlooms and aspects of the Kastellorizian history, including, religion, traditions and customs.
“I wrote this book because growing up in Townsville, I had my yiayia who every ten years would open the Baoulo and in it were all these gold silk brocades and silk velvets and furs. Every now and then she would go to the bank and bring back this box with the extraordinary jewellery and she would say words like ‘matzaria’ and ‘selinato’.
“I wrote it [the book] so the words, the meaning and the stories behind them don’t get lost,” said Bogiatzis who also referred to the way Kazzie migrants adapted and used their jewellery in Australia and why it is important to safekeep their stories.
“It doesn’t matter if the stories are true or not. We need to record oral history because this is where our tradition comes from but we need to know the facts that go with it.
“The best place for inherited jewellery is the family. Keep it, look after it and write down what you know about it to preserve its story. We are all the custodians of our culture and we have a responsibility,” he said.
Some of the women who attended the event adorned themselves in the finest Kastellorizian jewellery handed down to them by their families and had the chance to ask questions about the precious pieces.
The afternoon concluded with refreshments and the popular katoumaria, the traditional Kastellorizian sweet, prepared by the Association’s committee and volunteers.
“It was interesting to see many yiayiades who came to the event with their granddaughters,” Castellorizian Association of SA Commitee Member, Elizabeth Philippou, told The Greek Herald.
“As patrons of the Kazzie club, one of the oldest Greek Clubs in Australia, we understand the urgency of preserving our culture and the need to put it forward for the generations to come. We are the ones waving the flag for the past,” Philippou said, extending an invitation to people of Kastellorizian descent or anyone interested in the Kazzie culture to attend the Association’s upcoming events.
*To stay up to date with the Castellorizian Association of SA future events follow their page on FB: Castellorizian Association of South Australia