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"Mantinada" is the most amazing genre of poetry. The Cretans both through the "mantinada" and the "rizitika" songs express their feelings and every aspect of their social life.

A "Mantinada" can be about love, falling in love, separation, death, celebration, passions, war etc. There are three different kinds of "mantinades": allegorical, mocking and praising.

It is the means through which the Cretans all over Crete have expressed themselves for centuries.

Nowadays, the "mantinades", which are fifteen-syllable couplets, are flourishing since they have crossed the borders of Crete and have spread to the whole Greece.


Rizitika are named the Cretan traditional chants which were preserved at the foot of the Lefka Ori mountains on West Crete (in the mountainous areas of Chania mainly). They are the continuation of ancient Cretan songs and of Doric war songs. The Dorians were a race who settled in the mountainous areas of Chania around 1000 B.C.

They were renamed from Cretan chants to Sfakian chants and then, in 1920, took their current name, Rizitika. They accompany all the social manifestations of the inhabitants of Western Crete.

There are two kinds of Rizitika chants. Those that are sung during a food gathering around the table (‘tis tavlas’) and those that are sung during a walking route (‘tis stratas’). They are narrative (not dancing) songs that are recited by euphonious singers without the accompaniment of musical instruments as a rule.

They draw their theme mainly from notions like bravery, love, friendship, hospitality, family, foreign lands, death, etc. More often than not, they are developed allegorically.

Rizitika chants are a mirror of the Cretan soul, the measure of spirituality, the certificate of humanity, of homogeneity and of the lively nature of our people.