Sifnos and the Flaros

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Sifnos local expression concerning flaros became famous in Greece.

“Your bad flaros” (ton kako sou ton flaro) is a famous Greek expression that addressed interlocutor suggests, as metaphor, strong protest to some wrong conclusions and actions, event or great indignation in cases where a severe distortion of the truth. A similar expression also called metaphorically suggesting a similar sense of indignation is the phrase “your bad weather” (ton kako sou ton kairo)!

Flaroi are called the clay chimneys placed in the Cyclades islands, on the roof of the houses in order to avoid big flooding during rainfall. Simultaneously when lit the fire inside the house for everyday cooking, his mission was to  pull effectively channeling the smoke from burning wood in the kitchen of the house to the outside environment.

The “bad  flaros” therefore probably would protect the house from the falling rain but will stifle the home to smoke, whenever the housekeepers will light a fire to cook.

In Sifnos potters gave flaros a particular form and gradually competition to build the best flaros led to the creation of elaborate artwork. Today flaros are mainly decorative rather than functional elements of the houses as it was in the past. Sifnian potters manufacture, small in size, decorative” flaroi” for visitors and tourists of the island who wish to obtain their own flaros to remind them, as a  souvenir, their Sifnos summer holidays.

Regarding the origin use of the name flaros, this probably is a relic of the Venetian domination in Greek islands and is connected with paraphrases frar (meaning brother of the Roman Catholic Church). Sifnos local people, with their unique sense of humor who distinguishes them until nowadays, probably wanted to ridicule the image of ​​missionaries, who were trying to proselytize them, they called flaros their chimneys.

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