Societies

 

DIMOKRITOS

 

From the celebration of the 40 years old the Dimokrito’s society.

The president of Dimokritos Lefki Nikoletos hands out a copy of the society’s first minutes to the creator and first president, Stavros Rontiris.

 

 

 

The cultural Society of Vassaras ‘Dimokritos was established April 26, 1965, through the efforts of a certain enthusiastic group young and old, of Vassarans: Stavros Rontiris George Kosmas, George and Kostas Mavrias, Yiangos Sgouritsas, George and Antonia Manetas, Alexandra Karalis, Triantafilli Stavropoulou, Kostas and Argyro Spiropoulos, Nikolaos Galanis, Panagiotakis Prokos, Kiki Kalliava, Gregoris Stavropoulos, Sarantos Dakogiannis and others.

Stavros Rontiris was the first elected president of the Society. Stavros acknowledges the important contribution of other non-Vassarans, who helped in various ways, morally and otherwise, in promoting ‘Dimokritos’ and it’s goals:
Politimi Polichronakou, Notary Public who offered her services gratis, John Hiotis, Manager of the printing press of Sparti’s High School, Nick Georgiadis, President of the Intellectual House of Sparti, The amateur Church choir under the direction of the conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Sparti and a familiar Pharmacist of the Sainopoulou Pharmacy, Demetrios Athanasopoulos, and finally Andreas Hiotis, whose unconditional support through his local weekly newspaper the ‘Laconic Herald’ helped greatly in the formation and realization of the organization ‘Dimokritos’.

From Dimokrito’s first New Year celebration in Vassara.

The ‘Demokritos’ Society has organized and or sponsored many activities such as lectures, dances, excursions, outings, plays etc. Vassarans were able to visit many parts and historical sites of Greece they had never seen before and they also had the opportunity to attend numerous plays, lectures, and dances the Society sponsored.

One of the biggest events the Society established and which has become an annual event is the ‘festival of Panagia’ that takes place in Vassara on the 23rd of April of each year. The festival attracts many people from all corners of the globe., America, Canada, Australia, Athens, Sparti, as well as people from the surrounding towns. Hundreds and sometimes over 1000 people attend this festival each year to this present day. All the society members volunteer their time and work hard in all the projects for the benefit of the community and it’s inhabitants. The ‘Demokritos Society is still active to this day

 

 

A dancing group, dances in the square of the village, the night before the celebration of “Panagias”.

Vassara kids are singing the Christmas carols.

 

 

 

The Vassara Society of Boston children with Santa, on the annual Christmas party.

 

Meeting of the members of the Society of Boston.

It was around the end of the nineteenth century that the mass exodus from Greece began, especially from the southern part. the Peloponnesos, Men were immigrating primarily to the United States of America, in the pursuit of a better life, future and happiness.
This was how many Vassarans were among the first people to immigrate to USA with the blessings of their parents.

It was around the year 1878 that a man named Nikos Tsakonas from the nearby village of Tsitzina (a resident of New York for more than 10 years) convinced the first Vassarans to immigrate to the USA.

Names like Lycouras, Laskaris, Psalidas, Mamounas, Bounos, Dikaios, Karafotis, Karagiannis, Giouras, Ginnakopoulos, Kosmas, Sakellaris, Viris and others, were among the first settlers who came and settled in New York, Boston, Chicago and Hawaii.

A meeting of the members of the society with the president George Karalis reading the minutes.

A meeting of the members of the society with the president George Karalis reading the minutes.They worked hard in order to secure a better future for themselves and for those whom they had left behind. And they never forgot their little village, Vassaras and its’ basic needs.

A few years later, when these immigrants were financially comfortable, a group of Vassarans of Boston got together and decided to establish an organization of Vassarans for the sole purpose of helping their native village financially. So in the year 1901, the first Vassara Society was established in a foreign land and they named it ‘Vassara Society of Boston’.

It did not take long before the Vassara Society of Boston became a household word. They organized outings, dances and fund raising events for the various endeavors in their local community in Boston where they lived, as well as for the different projects in their native village Vassaras.

Thanks to their multiple deeds and activities, the fame of the society became well known not only across America but in other foreign lands as well, such as Canada, Australia and Greece. And this fame encouraged other Vassarans around the globe to establish their own Vassara Societies in their respective areas.
Vassara Societies began to appear in New York, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Sydney, Australia, Hawaii and one in Athens, Greece under the name ‘Dionisos’, (named after the ancient God of wine.)

The first important project the Vassara Society of Boston undertook was in 1922: the construction of a main road that would connect the village with the outside world by automobile. A life long dream of all the Vassarans became a reality thanks to the financial assistance of the Boston Society. Additional credit must also be given to the Vassara Society of Athens ‘Dionisos’. Without their assistance, the efforts and dreams of the Vassarans could have been in jeopardy.

The next big project the Vassara Society of Boston undertook, this time with the cooperation of the Vassara Society of Chicago, was in the late 1950s. This time it was to bring running water into the home of every Vassaran.

Some Vassaraioi are having good time at the Christmas party.

This project was a blessing for the village but more so for it’s inhabitants.

The politically divided villagers, (as they found themselves to be after the war and occupation), offered their personal talents and work for this common good. United, they all worked very hard laying miles of water pipes without any financial compensation. All volunteered their time and all realized that projects for the common good were far more important than their political differences and ideologies. We congratulate them.

The third big project the Vassara Society of Boston got involved with was in the early 1970s, when it helped financially to bring electricity and telephone lines to the village Vassaras.

All Vassara Societies from time to time helped the elementary school financially, but it was a New Yorker Vassaran, Nikolaos Lelis, who single handedly built the new addition of the Elementary School.

Here we see the important roles the various Vassara Societies played in upgrading the quality of life for the natives of Vassaras. They helped bring communication (roads and telephones), water and electricity as well as schools — all of which are basic ingredients for progress and civilization.

Today Vassaras is a modern village. Vassarans enjoy the good life and all the comforts of the civilized world of the 20th century. They have plenty of water supplies and electricity for all the needs of the village and its’ people. Every family has one or two and some times three cars in their front yard, and yes, every single home has it’s own telephone, aside from the cellular phones.

Kids are waiting in line to pick up their presents from Santa.

Unfortunately in recent years most of the inhabitants have left town and only the old have remained. The School is about to close; no children.

Subsequently all the Vassara Societies, one by one, have begun to disappear, including the Athenian Society, ‘Dionisos’.

Only the Vassara Society of Boston is still in existence today. The Society celebrated it’s 100 year anniversary in 2001, and to this day it remains active and strong and it continues it’s philanthropic endeavors.

We hope and pray the younger generation of Vassarans will continue the works of their parents and grandparents for the common good, particularly for the good of our beloved village Vassaras from where we are all have our roots.

We are especially interested and hope the old Vassara Society of the Athenians, ‘Dionisos’, resurrects itself, as it could be a viable player as it has been in the past, in the execution of future works

 

 

 

k k
On the left members of the society with Santa, and on the right some Vassaraioi with the late Kostas Spiropoulos.

 

FRIENDS OF VERROIA SOCIETY

The ‘Friends of Verroia Society’ was organized the year 2004. Verroia is a mountain village five kilometers north east of Vassara that has 1000 meters altitude and plenty of spring water accessible to everyone all year around.

The village Verroia pre-existed of Vassaras. It’s original name was ‘Oinous’. It is believed that the name ‘Oinous’ was changed in the year 1333 when refugees from northern Greece, who left their native town in order to escape slavery from foreign invading forces, migrated there. These refugees emanated from a town named ‘Verroia’ that is located and still exists in the province of Macedonia. The new settlers renamed the village Oinous after the name of their own village they left behind, Verroia. The main occupation of these new settlers were shepherds raising cattle-live stock. Verroians lived there before Vassaras existed. The first Vassarans were actually Verroians who settled in Vassara in order to be in a more fertile land. There they were able to produce olive oil, wheat, corn, figs and walnuts but their primary product was wine. The number of sheep and goats were also in to the thousands and dairy products were plentiful. Verroia’ later became the summer village of Vassarans and in recent years Verroia is now considered to be a district of Vassaras.

The purpose of the creation of the ‘Friends of Verroia Society’ is to preserve and beautify sites within that area the Society deems to be of importance.
Last year the Society cleaned up the surounding area of the spring water site ‘Katoureli’, with funds raised among it’s members.

For next year’s project the Society has decided to create a level area in front of the abandoned old school which the town Vassaras has allowed them to use as it’s headquarters. The old school is standing on top of a hill and does not have any level area for tables and chairs for the enjoyment and relaxation of their members and visitors.
In addition, the society plans to build new bath rooms within the old school building.
Presently, the Society has organized and sponsors an annual backgammon tournament where everyone is invited to participate.

k
k
Members of the Society are going over the details for the “tavli” tournament, in front of their club, well known as the village’s school.