From Şxex to Chorta: The Adaptation of Maronite Foraging Customs to the Greek Ones in Kormakitis, Northern Cyprus

Pieroni, Andrea and Sulaiman, Naji and Polesny, Zbynek and Sõukand, Renata (2022) From Şxex to Chorta: The Adaptation of Maronite Foraging Customs to the Greek Ones in Kormakitis, Northern Cyprus. Plants, 11 (20).

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The traditional foraging of wild vegetables (WVs) has played an important role in the post-Neolithic development of rural local food systems of the Near East and the Mediterranean. This study assessed the WVs gathered by the ancient Maronite Arabic diaspora of Kurmajit/Kormakitis village in Northern Cyprus and compared them with those gathered by their Cypriot and Arab Levantine neighbors. An ethnobotanical field survey focusing on WVs was conducted via twenty-two semi-structured interviews among the few remaining Maronite elderly inhabitants (approximately 200); and the resulting data were compared with those described in a few field studies previously conducted in Cyprus, Lebanon, and coastal Syria. Wild vegetables in Kormakitis are grouped into a folk category expressed by the emic lexeme Şxex, which roughly corresponds to the Greek concept of Chorta (wild greens). The large majority of Şxex have Greek folk phytonyms and they overlap for the most part with the WVs previously reported to be gathered by Greek Cypriots, although a remarkable number of WVs are also shared with that of the other groups. The findings address a possible adaptation of Maronite WV foraging to the Greek one, which may be explained by the fact that the Maronite minority and the majority Greek communities lived side by side for many centuries. Additionally, after Turkish occupation in 1974, a remarkable migration/urbanization of Maronites to the main Greek centers on the southern side of the isle took place, and Kurmajit became part of Cypriot trans-border family networks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cyprus; ethnobotany; Maronites; Mediterranean diet; wild greens
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Q Science > QK Botany
R Medicine > RV Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Depositing User: ePrints deposit
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2023 12:36
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2023 12:36

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