Certain sounds echo in the olive groves in Koura during harvest time. Those vary from the whipping sounds of sticks hitting the olive branches, to the” flurrping” sound of olives as they land on plastic tarps laid on the ground. The chirping and singing of birds is interrupted by the occasional shout of the master picker yelling out for a faster pace. The sounds of church bells mixed with Byzantine chants travel in the air on Sunday mornings.
The Koura region consists of about 50 small towns and villages with olive groves spread in between. The vast majority of Koura residents belong to the Antiochian orthodox church ( same as Greek orthodox). Those towns and villages are homes for about 70 churches, some going back to the 5th century.
All those sounds occupy a special place in my heart. The one sound however that strikes me the most is the voices of olive pickers chanting their folk songs as they move along from one tree to the next.
Historically, and currently, most if not all of olive pickers in Koura happen to be bedouins from Syria. They migrate in great numbers to koura during olive harvest season looking for work. They chant their folk songs from the top of their lungs into the cool November air, adding a whole new flavor to the olive harvest experience. Even though I live in Massachusetts for at least 10 months a year, those sounds echo in my mind and my soul. I look forward to those sounds every Fall season, the olive harvest season.
Experience some of those sounds by clicking on the links below: