The traditional custom known as Rakitzo, associated with the distilment process of raki, a strong white grape-based spirit, is held either late October or early November in many villages of Naxos.
After being pressed for wine, grape remains, are placed in tanks with small amounts of must or water, as well as fennel or citrus -during the process’s final round of distilment – for aroma.
The tank is closed and after a period of fermentation a fire is lit, and raki begins to emerge and drop into an accompanying container.
Every tank-full produces between 12 and 17 litres of raki. The moment chosen to remove the raki from the tank is crucial to its quality, or alcohol level.
The first round of raki produced, known as protoraki, is so potent that it is used for medical purposes, such as potion for back rubs.
Rakitzo proceedings are combined with traditional celebrations, with music as well as food grilled by the tanks.
Copious supplies of raki and culinary specialties are offered to people in attendance.