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Vouhes- BouceV

Every visitor to Akanthou when entering the village was welcome by some cylinder shaped holes in the ground on the hillside of “Mandri”( Mantri ) and which some of these holes were covered by round flat stones.
You could also find more of these Vouhes in other places around the village like: “Mandri”, “Mazeri”(
Mazerhn ) and at “Dkiazia”( Dkiazua ).These strange looking holes served a good purpose. They were used by Akanthiotes as storage. They had a depth of 2-2.5 meters and the villagers stored wheat/grain and they were called VOUHES.( BouceV )

It is well known that the wheat is prone to catching a decease. This disease was in the form of insects eating the inside of the wheat and the Akanthiotes to avoid this disease they would store the wheat in these Vouhes. Before the wheat was placed in the Vouhes, they had to be prepared first. The villagers would burn out the inside of the Vouhes for a period of about 4-5 days so that every disease was destroyed.
I remember back in the early 60’s when we were kids we used to play around them and jump into the empty ones, and we’ll get covered in back dust from head to toes.
After the Vouhes cooled down a bit, so that you could place your hand on the inside walls without getting burnt, then it was time for the wheat to be stored inside them. The cooling down time was about 8 days.
The entrance to the Vouhes was closed (sealled) with care so that there was no way for the rain to get inside, not even a drop of water was allowed to get through.
From time to time the Vouhes would be opened so that enough wheat was collected for a household’s needs and then sealled up again very carefully.
These Vouhes were built in clay ground, because water is very difficult to be absorbed in clay soil.
Vouhes could be found in other places around Akanthou as well. Ten minutes north of the village towards the sea at “Koukouliou”(
Koukouliou ) down the hill at “ Stazousa ”( Stazousa ).
One question that arises from this sort of storage is security. Well, let me inform you my friend that not even once there was a report or an incident of a theft from these Vouhes.
The Akanthiotes were trustworthy people and they were very proud of the fact.
The are evidence of the existence of older Vouhes in ruins some 6-7 miles outside the village of Akanthou at the old ruins of the settlement of “
Trika Teratsia ”( Trika Teratsia ), “Melissa”( Melissa) , “Niatis”( NiathV ), “Koufou”( Koufou ), “Dihorka”( Dicwrka ), “Kavkalla”( Kaukalla ) and other places too. This method of storage was done for centuries by the Akanthioti, LONG BEFORE THE TURKS INVADED OUR VILLAGE, OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND in the summer of 1974.
Information given to Mr Panteli Pantelides teacher (now deceased)  by Mr Mihali Stergide the Mayor of Yialousa, some 70-80 years ago there were such Vouhes at Yialousa too.
Vouhes were also used by the islanders in the Aegean sea as well.

Weather forecasts

i) According to the old calendar, on the day that Ayios Platonas Ayios Romanos celebrate 18th November if the weather front is coming from the north eastern direction then it will not rain for 40 days.

ii) If the sea makes a roaring sound then heavy rain will follow in 24 hours.

iii) When there is a little ring around the moon then it will rain and when there’s a large ring that is an indication of strong winds.

iv) At sun rise if there is a belt in front of the sun then it will rain in 24 hours.

v) When there is thunder and lighting and the lighting is very clear and occurring in the south then it will be very windy coming from a northern direction.

vi) When there is thunder and lighting and the lighting is not very clear ( you can just about see it) this means that it will rain very heavily in 3 days the latest.


Candle lit graves

One Easter tradition that took place at Akanthou on resurrection night was the candle lighting at our two cemeteries.
It is believed that this tradition only happens at Akanthou and at no other Cypriot village.
At about 11 o’clock on resurrection night all the villagers who had dead relatives buried at the cemeteries (
Ayia Fotou & Ayia Varvara ) will all go and light a candle and place it on top of the grave.
When the rest of the villagers were celebrating the resurrection of Christ in church by holding lit candles, you got the feeling that the dead were celebrating as well.
It was truly a beautiful sight walking past the cemeteries on your way home after midnight Mass and seeing all the graves having a lit candle on them.

The burning of Judas

The burning of Judas was another tradition we had at Akanthou at Easter time.
Many youngsters will get together design and then make a huge Judas.
Judas will be dressed in old clothing and then be placed on Easter Monday in the big church yard.

The youngsters will then, using special guns ( pistoles ) filled with gunpowder will start shooting at Judas. This was very dangerous and every year there were accidents.
When everyone’s had a go shooting at him, he will then be taken to the end of the church yard and blown up. The explosion was so great , Judas will shoot very high in the air passing the church bell-towers.