Giostra di Zante
Every year during the three days of Pentecost, a special event, the Giostra of the Rings, is held on Zakynthos island.
Giostra is one of the oldest events known throughout Zakynthos and probably dates back to 1500. It is a competition of skill, in which competitors are on horseback and with a spear must successfully collect a hoop-ring. The winner receives a silver sword as a gift.
The knights dedicate their victory to a young lady of their choice.
In the past, there would be a three-day celebration at the winner’s home, while a pair of silver spurs would be awarded for second place.
Giostra was attended by the families of the nobles, whose names were registered in the so-called “Golden Book” – “Libro d’ Oro”. However, although nobles participated in the competition, the event was attended by crowds of people from all walks of life. It was described as a unique event by different historians and many traveled from far away just to see the event.
Therefore, Giostra formed a popular style. So, it is no coincidence that Giostra is mentioned throughout history, literature and theater.
Today, Giostra in Zakynthos has not only a domestic Ionian flavor, as all the Ionian Islands participate, but it also has an international flair. Many other European countries participate in the parade and the competition. All participating members are dressed in historical period costumes with each guest of honor dressed in traditional costume.
Until now Giostra Zakynthos hosts events annually since 2005 with the participation of international countries. Actually, the city of Sulmona from Italy, San Marino, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Sardinia participate every year.
It’s good to know
Zakynthos was also crowned European Champion in 2018 and 2019 in events held in Italy, in the city of Sulmona, where the European Giostra is held every year.
Also, in September 2022, she was crowned Champion in the international Giostra held in Sardinia, in the city of Oristano, where a cooperation agreement was signed with the countries that make up the Ring Giostra!
The organization continues efforts to reach out to other countries and cities across Europe with similar medieval events.