The collection of MANASIS traditional folk costumes were co-designed by Alkis after years of travel and research, and hand stitched and sewn to perfection by the working hands of his wife Sylvia Manasis. Throughout the years 1984 – 1989, she spent endless months hand-crafting, styling, accessorising and detailing the elaborate costumes.

…in total, Sylvia has personally produced over 400 traditional Greek costumes, both men’s and women’s, from all regions of Greece…

The costumes are still being worn today, and in conjunction with some original, authentic, and extremely rare costumes on permanent-loan from affiliated cultural organisations, are the only traditional “foresia” students of the school wear. Their invaluable legacy, continue to remain the school’s most treasured possession, with Sylvia’s hard work and dedication behind the scenes being an integral part of the school’s success.

Traditions older than time itself…

Unique and exclusive to MANASIS, these very rare costumes are worn only during the traditional seasons known as “DODEKAIMERO”- the twelve days from Christmas (25th December), to the eve of the Epiphany (5th January), and during “APOKRIES”- celebrated over the weeks preceding LENT- the 40-day period of strict fasting in preparation for PASCHA- Greek Orthodox Easter.

See, HEAR, get up-close and experience these historic moments, at various upcoming events! With an entourage of hundreds, and wearing a total of over 500+ authentic and traditional-style bells, no matter where you are, you’ll hear them coming!!!

Kamiles & Divitzides

The custom of “Kamiles & Divitzides” (camels and camel-masters), is one of the most popular Dodekaimero and New-Year’s customs of Thrace / Anatoliki Romilia (regions in modern-day Bulgaria and Turkey). It originates (like almost all of these customs) in antiquity and refers to the feasts in honour of the pagan God Dionysus. After the prevalence of Christianity, the custom was adapted in order to ensure its preservation; the camel, reminiscent of the three Kings (Magoi) who followed the star across the dessert to the newborn Jesus, symbolises health and prosperity.

No two kamiles or divitzides are ever the same. Most are made from a type of hessian fabric, with peices of wood fixed together to make a frame and are carried by a man inside strapped to it. Like many costumes associated with the Dodekaimero or Apokries, they are all typically made with ‘whatever was lying around’. The survival of this custom, is in fact credited to the countless Thracians / Anatoliki Romiliotes who became refugees from their ancestral towns in modern-day Bulgaria and Turkey and ended up in other regions of Northern Greece, predominately Macedonia. Each year, these communities replay and relive these customs.

Kales Kamiles!


The wearing of animal skins, masks and bells is one of the oldest known folk traditions still in existence, pre-dating Christianity and shared right throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Although the ritual varies from village to village, country to country, the essence of the “koudounoforoi”, “rougatsia”, “rougatsaria”, “kalikantzaroi”, “maskarades” and “karnavali” remains the same.

The belief is that the ringing of bells wards off evil spirits from the earth, provides fertile ground for crops to grow, and masks and swords protect the wearers from being possessed!


Soxos (or Sohos) is a village located in Macedonia, Northern Greece, approximately 40km North-East of Thessaloniki.

Traditionally, from the Epiphany (6th January) through to Clean Monday (the commencement of Orthodox Lent), koudounoforoi roam the streets of Soxos to the sounds of musicians playing Zourna and Daouli.

The unique costume consists of:
-black wild goat fur coat and pants
-red hand-knitted scarf
-pig-skin shoes ‘gourouno tsarouha’
-5 bells: 4 ‘kypria’ and 1 ‘batali’
-embroidered headpiece with horse-hair whiskers.

Yianitsari and Boulles

The “Yianitsari and Boulles” from the region of “Naousa” in Northern Macedonia, are unique costumes, representing traditional Greek customs dating back hundreds of years.

Today they are presented as an integral part of the “Apokries” carnival celebrations, preceding the fasting period of Lent before Greek Orthodox Easter. What identifies the “Yianitsari and Boulles” is their ornate embroidery, swords, unique character masks, and elaborately decorated coin armoured vests.

MANASIS was the first cultural institution in Australia to make and exhibit these costumes. They continue to present them today, as their trademark wear, alongside other costumes from the collection.


It is a high honour to be entrusted with the custodianship of a multitude of original, authentic, and extremely rare traditional costumes which are the asset of other cultural organisations. These organisations, in decades-past had their own member-based dance groups representing them, however currently with an inactive youth presence, have sought to support our endeavours and share our vision, rather than have these priceless garments simply packed away in a closet.

In exchange for this privilege, whenever our students wear these specific costumes, great effort is invested in highlighting and promoting the partnership with these organisations. Often, our troupes also participate and provide cultural entertainment in the many events they continue to host annually.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the following organisations and individuals, and extend the opportunity to invite any others to consider this partnership:

– Association of Karditsa Province of Melbourne and Victoria “KARAISKAKIS”
– Hellenic Community of the City of Moorabbin
– Greek Orthodox Parish & Community of Gippsland (Morwell) “The Dormition of Our Lady”
– Panthracian Association of Melbourne
– The Institute of Hellenic Dance and Culture (Sydney)
– Konstantinos Kalymnios and family
– Nick & Stella Karamitsos and family
– Vicki Katis and family

*For donations of any costume or cultural items to our dance school, please click here

For any details regarding products, services, classes, times, enrolments, bookings or any other general enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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