Masks replace threads on wish trees near Zeus Altar
It’s an ancient tradition that’s gotten a contemporary update, yet many are not happy: In these coronavirus times, visitors to the Zeus Altar in the Aegean province of Çanakkale’s Ayvacı district have begun hanging face masks on trees, instead of the more traditional threads, to make a wish.
The Zeus Altar, where the gods made sacrifices in order to prevail in wars, to get rid of drought and disease, to get fertile products and to protect from disasters according to ancient Greek beliefs, is among the popular destinations of tourists today.
Since pandemic restrictions ended, hundreds of people have been flocking every day to the altar in Adatepe village in the region. But now, those who visit make wishes and hang their protective face masks to the trees, instead of threads.
And though they are forbidden from doing so, people have long tied threads to the trees along in the belief that their wishes will come true if the threads hanging on the trees do not fall off until their next visit.
“We came to Zeus Altar for the first time. We were shocked when we arrived. They hung their masks on the tree. It is interesting that this place was ruined, we could not understand,” said Ali Kaya, who came to the region for a holiday from Istanbul.
“They tied threads to the tree differently. But when I examined them, I noticed that they were masks. Attaching masks to trees is thoughtless,” noted Çağatay Kazancı, another visitor in the region.