Lefkada is an island with a wide spiritual tradition. Its geographical position – like all the others islands of Ionian Sea – obtained a closer relationship with the West, in the years where all Continental Greece had been experiencing the spiritual Middle Age of Turkish Domination.
The temperamental Heptanisian culture and the unique feature of the island, full of “breath of the sea, breath of the pine trees” gave to Lefkada the opportunity to give birth and nurture some of the most sensitive poetic souls. In this island, were born or were springs, eminent artists and scientists with Pan-Hellenic recognition and international appreciation and publicity.
The manners, the customs and the creative speech of Lefkaditians, in different forms, the wishes and curses, the fairy tales and puzzles, the satirical songs and the humorous narratives, are composing the treasures of a rich and great tradition preserved alive until our days.
Many customs were created from the church calendar and the cycle of life – Christmas, Easter, Carnival and Lent. The most interesting are:
The music preferences of island’s different areas reflect its cultural lack of homogeneity. The villages are fond of folklore music and rebetika – a result from their relationship with Roumeli. The main town prefers chorus and mandolin music – a result from their relationship with Italy, since, during the Venetian domination and until the union of Greece, the children of the rich families were studying medicine or law in Italy, bringing back with them the culture and the values of West.
From the other side Venetians were promoting their culture all over Heptanisa, the result of today’s great influence in music and education. Lefkada has the oldest Philarmonic of Greece (1850).
Its active Union contributed to the music and education development of Lefkadites and was present to great historical events, as the Union of Heptanisa in 1864, the first Olympic Games of Athens in 1896, the Intercalated Games of 1906 etc.
In 1983, was awarded with the Academy of Athens prize. The Philarmonic offers a Music School, a Band, a Bandina and the Music Groups. Lefkada also has groups of traditional dance, chorus, mandolin orchestra with Pan Hellenic and international recognition.