October is, surprisingly perhaps for some, a great time to visit the island of perpetual bliss: Crete. October is the month when the famous Kazanemata or Rakokazana begin, a very lively custom related to Crete’s most popular spirit: Raki. Often referred to as Tsikoudia as well, it is one of the true Greek spirits and is an integral part of the Cretan way of life and hospitality.
All around Crete, many households are preparing their ‘kazania’ or brewing cauldrons for the distillation procedure of the new season Raki. It is an important cultural custom that has kept tradition alive for many generations, while each household distiller has their own tricks of the trade when it comes to brewing their own version of the drink.
The previous harvest of the grapes leaves leftovers that are not suitable for winemaking, which are far from wasted. The leftovers are placed in barrels to ferment for 40 days, before the Kazanemata can begin. People congregate at the houses of these traditional distillers, gathering around and celebrating the new Raki to come. A feast begins to manifest itself, as if out of nowhere. Attendees all cheers, drink, laugh, sing and dance in the name of the new season’s spirit in a Raki fest like no other!
Kazanemata is an annual custom deeply rooted in tradition, and it is a great opportunity for visitors of Crete to experience this. These are domestic events primarily and it is usual that some Cretans will welcome outside visitors as part of sharing their tradition with the rest of the world. Contact our reception team at Civitel Akali in Chania and Creta Beach in Ammoudara if you are interested in participating, and we will be happy to provide further information, and ensure you get the best out of this experience.