UNESCO has placed the traditional harvesting and produce of mastic known as “mastiha Chiou” on its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, safeguarding the unique-to-Chios procedure and raising awareness of its significance.
The culture ministry said on Monday, 8 December, that UNESCO had accepted Greece’s application for the recognition of Chios’ traditional mastic practices in its annual meeting in Paris last month.
Mastic production in Chios is already granted protected designation of origin (PDO) in the EU.
The natural resin of the mastic tree, known as the “tears of Chios”, mastiha has been found to have a series of medicinal qualities and health benefits. The painstaking and costly process of harvesting and cultivating the resin is passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth primarily in the 24 southern villages of Chios known as the “mastichohoria”, which rely on the production of mastic.
The harvest of mastic takes place from the beginning of July to the beginning of October.